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Text of Speech of the Eminent Leader Grand Ayatollah Seyyid Ali Khamene’i
at the Opening Ceremony of the 8th OIC Summit Meeting ,Tehran, 9th December, 1997

In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful 

I wish to start my speech in this brotherly forum, which is to echo the voice of Muslims world wide, by praising and glorifying Allah: 0 Lord, I praise You for knowledge, for monotheism, for worship, and for kindness. I praise You for Islamic brotherhood, for human dignity, for instruction of patience and reliance (on the Almighty), and for recommending beneficence and generosity. I extend greetings to the Holy Prophet Mohammad Mustafa (peace and praise be upon him), Your servant and Your Messenger who hoisted the banner of monotheism and equity, who raised the call of human dignity, and who liberated mankind from serving anyone or anything but You. I also send greetings to the immaculate Household, sincere friends, and disciples of the Holy Prophet (S), all worthy servants of Allah, and all human beings with pure nature. 

I wish to cordially and fraternally express welcome to all you dear guests, heads of state and officials of the Islamic countries, as well as heads and members of all delegations, the U.N. Secretary General, the secretary general of this summit, and other dear guests. Brothers and Sisters, You have now gathered together in one of the homelands and strongholds of Islam. Even though officially our President is your host, each and every Iranian also considers himself / herself as your host and welcomes you to this land of faith. Dear Guests, Our gathering is not one of friends who get together in pursuit of certain interests such that when other interests appear some other time our bonds would be severed. We are brothers who have been eternally linked by our belief in the Qur’an and who have all become a united body, namely the Islamic Ummah (nation), irrespective of any historical, geographical, and political diversity. We have inevitably accepted this link through our submission to Islam. Complaints, differences, and even tensions cast a pall on this fact, but these can always be washed away by recourse to wisdom, reason, and forbearance. Let us glance at this august gathering and this historical meeting in such a spirit to be able to reap benefit from it for determining the destiny of our own nations and that of the grand Islamic Ummah. Brothers `nd sisters and Dear Guests, At the opening of this meeting, I will present my inaugural statements with regard to three issues, namely Islam, the Islamic Ummah, and the OIC meeting and its prospects, and then come up with conclusions. 

1. Islam 

During the early days after its advent and even at present, Islam has been - and still is - a pathway toward a new world, warranting a prosperous life, moral soundness, and salvation for mankind. At the time of the advent of Islam, previously and even today, the major sufferings and grievances of man - which Islam is bent on eradicating - have permanently been the same: poverty, ignorance, discrimination, war, insecurity, and finally man's incarceration in the prison of materialism and captivity by his evil tendencies. And Islam is the religion of humanity, moderation, wisdom, and submission to the Almighty - and evidently all religions have been so before being subjected to distortion. As such, Islam presented non-extravagant remedies to the human pains and sufferings in logically and rationally acceptable ways. Islam invited mankind toward remembrance (of Allah), supplication, and establishment of spiritual relationship with the Almighty. Islam taught man and recommended to him to combat evil, Aggression, corruption and to constantly fight against egotism, selfishness, and bent for carnal desires. Islam's major decrees have taken shape in this way, and Islam's program for man's individual, social, moral, and political life have grown out of these roots. 

In Islam, social justice, different types of freedom, equitable peace, combat with oppression and Aggression, male - female relationship, relationships among the people and among the societies, self edification, inherent relationship with the Almighty are all based on those pillars and geared toward alleviating the perennial and permanent pains (gripping humanity). Today, too, contrary to life's colourful and pleasant surface appearance, mankind suffers from the same pains and sufferings that have beset humanity in the course of history: The majority of people of the world are poor, while a small number hold the major part of assets and wealth on earth. Most nations are deprived of scientific progress, while a group have used their science and knowledge as a means to mete out oppression on others. Wars flare in nooks and comers of the world, while others (not affected by war) are constantly in fear of the eruption of war. All over the world, there is discrimination among the countries, while there are class differences in most states. The Western materialistic civilisation is directing everyone toward materiality, while money, gluttony, and carnal desires are made the greatest aspirations. Finally, sincerity, truthfulness, altruism, and self - sacrifice have been replaced in many parts of the world by deception, conspiracy, avarice, jealousy, and other indecent features. 

Science, technology, equipment , speed, and facility have dramatically changed the world as compared with the past, but the chronic and age -old pains and chagrin of humanity still remain unchanged. The major problems of today are the same that existed in the past. Western liberalism, communism, socialism, and all other -isms have gone through their tests and proved their debility. As in the past, today Islam is the only remedial, curative and saviour angel: As with one thousand four hundred years ago, today, too, the following call echoes: Come to you light and a clear book from Allah; with it Allah guides him who will follow His pleasure into the ways of safety and brings them out of utter darkness into light by His will and guides them to the right path. (Holy Qur’an, Chapter Maidah, Verses 15 and16) Indeed, there has. The important consideration is the observation and recognition of the true visage of Islam (devoid of any embellishments). The illuminated visage of Islam has been defaced and defiled in the course of several centuries by the foes and in the course of longer spans of time by the ignorant and heedless friends. They have deliberately or ignorantly made additions or deletions in Islam. 

At present, too, incorrect understanding and quest for interests are still at work by the inner circles to tarnish the image of Islam. But without a shade of doubt, enemy publicity in this regard is by far more effective, by trying to embark upon this move through subtle and sly ways. One instance of the enemies' incessant efforts to this end is the massive bulk of publicity against the Islamic Iran after the establishment of the Islamic government in Iran. They felt that levelling accusations and furnishing false news would be the most conclusive ways to stave off the impacts of this grand revolution. They have uttered such falsities about us and ascribed such things to us that their words have become repetitive and completely monotonous and boring for the listeners. The Zionists, the notorious global Zionist media, and arrogant agents, in particular the Americans - namely those who have sustained the greatest losses due to the revolution - have been - and are - most active and vocal in this area. Muslim brothers, on this basis, our great task is to recognise Islam and make it recognised and become more familiar with one another. 

2. The Islamic Ummah 

The Islamic Ummah which sprang up in Madinat-un-Nabi and which stepped in the way of quantitative and qualitative growth in an astonishing and legendary way was the first political - human product of Islam. In less than half a century after the emergence of this auspicious phenomenon, it treaded almost half the entire territories of the three large neighbouring ancient civilisations, namely Iran, Rome, and Egypt. A century later, it developed a brilliant civilisation and a grand and powerful government in the heart of the world which was bound on the east by the Great Wall of China and the Atlantic Ocean coasts and on the north by the Siberian steppes and on the south by the southernmost part of the Indian Ocean. The third and fourth centuries A.H. and afterwards are embellished with such a brilliant civilisation whose academic and cultural achievements can still be seen in the modern world after a thousand years. 

When recounting the history of science and civilisation, Western historians overlook and neglect this grand and unprecedented uprising, transformation, and revolution in science, culture, and civilisation and link the history of science from ancient Greece and Rome to the Renaissance, as though science and civilisation had died for a thousand years and were of a sudden reborn during the Renaissance! But the truth of the matter is that the Middle Ages was a period of darkness, ignorance, and consternation only for the West and Europe, but for the Islamic world, which was several times larger than Europe by ranging from Andalusia to China, this was a period of illumination, awakening, and academic sublimation and boom. This reminder does not aim at boasting of the past or lamenting the decline of those days. The aim is to underline the fact that Islam and its life - inspiring knowledge which gave rise to such a massive civilisation are now at our disposal and warn us: 

0 you who believe! answer (the call of ) Allah and His Apostle when he calls you to that which gives you life ... (Holy Qur’an, Chapter Anfal, Verse 24) 

Islam has proven that it has the capacity to lead its Ummah toward civil and academic sublimation and political might and main: Faith, struggle, avoidance of discord are the only prerequisites for fulfilment of this grand objective. The Holy Qur’an teaches us: And be not infirm, and be not grieving, and you shall have the upper hand if you are believers. (Holy Qur’an, Chapter A'Iay Imran, Verse 139) 

The Qur’an also teaches us: And (as for) those who strive hard for Us, We will most certainly guide them in Our ways; and Allah is most surely with the doers of good. (Holy Qur’an, Chapter Ankabut, Verse 69) 

It also offers the following instruction, And obey Allah and His Apostle and do not quarrel for then you will be weak in hearts and our power will depart, and be patient; surely Allah is with the patient. (Holy Qur’an, Chapter Anfal, Verse 46) 

Weakness in relation to these three factors has at present engulfed the Islamic Ummah in a pitiable condition At least, over the past two centuries, the persistent and cunning enemies possessing prudence and policy and some incompetent Muslim governments have, alongside diverse historical and political factors and conditions, intensely contributed to this condition and today we have inherited them from the past generations. Brothers and sisters, let us bequeath something more glorious to the posterity. In studying the external factors conducive to the present condition, I believe that the invasion of the arrogant front is more effective. 

In our culture, arrogance refers to a power clique which relies on its political, military, scientific, and economic power and gets inspiration from a discriminatory outlook toward mankind to exert pressure on and exploit large groups of human beings, namely nations, governments, and countries with bullying and contemptuous domination, to interfere and intervene in their affairs, to plunder their assets and wealth, to bully the governments, to oppress the nations, and to insult their cultures and traditions. Salient examples are colonialism, neo- colonialism, and recently the extensive and all out political, economic, publicity, and even military invasion of the previous colonisers and their heirs. All of these are carried out in front of the eyes of our nations, which are tasting their bitter fruits. In this effective invasion, the Western powers have reaped benefit of their academic and technological advancement and of some of their national and indigenous features. We do not reprimand the enemy. Those who pave the ground for the victory of their enemies and their own defeat through short-sightedness, search for ease and comfort, and egotism deserve to be rebuked. The West, in its all - rounded invasion, has also targeted our Islamic faith and character. In the light of its store of science, needed by all, the West intensely and persistently exported to our countries the culture of laxness and disregard for religion and ethics, a culture with which it is gripped. Indubitably, this ethical quagmire will, on a not too - distant day, engulf the present Western civilisation and wipe it out. 

At the present juncture, the world of Islam is in a calamitous condition due to hostile invasions, coupled with the inner factors affecting the past generations. Poverty, ignorance, academic backwardness, moral laxness, and worst yet, the cultural and at times political domination of its enemies on the one hand and great problems such as those of Palestine, Afghanistan, Lebanon, Iraq, Kashmir, Bosnia - Herzegovina, the Caucasus, and others on the other hand offer a long list of divine and human responsibilities to the governments, political dignitaries, and leaders of the Islamic world. Today, we should take the initiative. So far, the enemy has always held the initiative, and we have, at most, complained. 

In a historical process comprised of dozens of initiatives of the enemy, Palestine has been turned into the personal belonging of the Zionists. First, Palestinian lands were purchased. Then the immigrant Zionists were armed. Afterwards, civil war raged , and Palestine's dismemberment was declared. Then new parts of that Islamic and Arab country were conquered and occupied, and ultimately it was usurped entirely while parts of Egypt, Syria, and Jordan were also annexed to it. Up to this point, the Arab neighbours of Palestine have only once held the initiative. And that was the October 1973 attack by Syria and Egypt during the holy month of Ramazan. This attack did not reach full results due to the co-operation of the U.S. with Israel and inaction of the Islamic countries; nonetheless, it was a source of honour for the Arab front and led to the liberation of a part of the Arab lands. From then on, the Zionists and their supporters, headed by the U.S., have all along held the initiative in chanting slogans of compromise and generally in consolidating the usurping occupation of Palestine, and they have driven their rivals to any possible lengths. We Muslim governments should have offered more serious assistance to the front-line states to rescue and save Palestine. In the past, some of our governments have even covertly worked to the disadvantage of the front-line states. A prominent example was the government of Iran in the Pahlavi era. Pitifully, at the said time, Iran was a safe haven for the Zionists and a sincere colleague for the usurping Israeli regime. 

Dear Brothers and sisters, This condition is incompatible with Islamic dignity and far away from the remedies to the pains grieving the Islamic Ummah. All Islamic countries should assume a meritorious role in retrieving the rights of the Palestinian people, and the world of Islam should also proceed from passivity to a state of holding the initiative. Both these duties are at present carried out wholeheartedly and with might and main only by the faithful and dignified youth in Palestine and Lebanon. Hail to them! Our opposition to the so-called Middle East peace process is because it is unjust, arrogant, contemptuous, and finally illogical. The imposed principle of "peace for land" means that the Zionists would return the lands of all neighbouring countries, provided that we accept that Palestine belongs to them. What could be 1-nore unjust than these words? What response can be offered to the ancient Palestinian nation in this losing transaction? Ironically, the Israeli regime considers this inappropriate and has rejected it!! Isn't the time rife for the world of Islam to respond to this spirit of arrogance? If we regulate our ties and make them brotherly, we will have power to do so. What can the U.S. do vis-a-vis the united front of the Islamic countries, ranging from Indonesia to North Africa? 

Today, global arrogance gains hope and strength through creating discord and disunity in this front. Is it not time to bolster and strengthen this rank in our own favour? Perhaps the existence of an enemy such as Israel in the heart of the Islamic lands could have brought us closer ... But the covert hands of arrogance effaced even this peril from along its way: It did something to us that right now we fear each other more than we fear the enemy! The temptations, falsehoods, and sly publicity have made the Islamic countries erroneously and unduly intimidated by one another. For eighteen years now, the political designers of arrogance are breathing their poisonous breath to make our neighbours in the Persian Gulf fearful of Islamic Iran which holds the banner of unity and brotherhood. I declare that Islamic Iran poses no threat to any Islamic country. Blessed by the Qur’anic injunctions, Islamic Iran is today more and than ever for unity, dignity, and might of the world of Islam. 

Thanks to the Islamic faith and notwithstanding the enemies' publicity ploys, we Iranians have upheld and preserved our national unity in an unprecedented way and enhanced public involvement in the affairs contrary to the claims and innate wishes of our enemies. The brilliant presidential elections this year was an example of this dally increasing public involvement (in the affairs). The government is united and uniform and all officials are cordial with one another. Confidence and self - reliance are the major decisive factors in all our academic, political, economic, and cultural endeavours. Possessed of this belief in our selves, which Imam Khomeini taught us, we have been able to reconstruct and rehabilitate a ruined and backward country left from the Pahlavi era and made even more ruined during the eight - year - long imposed war. We witness the same endeavour in some other brotherly countries as well. But political dignity and power are of greatest importance. Our nation and government have eradicated the influence and intervention of the foreigners in their country by recourse to Islam. Nowadays, the Islamic Ummah is avid for that self - confidence and for this dignity and independence. And all of us should muster efforts to this end. This is a historical responsibility. Today, the ground is paved for fulfilment of this duty and for acquisition of dignity, power, and full independence of the world of Islam. If co-ordination of these efforts requires a hub, we now have it at our disposal- the Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC). We should glance at this Organisation and its future prospects. 

3. Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC) and Future Prospects. 

Today, 27 years have lapsed since a fire broke out in Masjid al Aqsa, an event which resulted in the set - up of the OIC. We shoulder the duty of sending peace and greetings to the founders of this Organisation and voicing appreciation to them. But the world's present conditions expose the Organisation of the Islamic Conference to more serious expectations as compared with those of the past. This Organisation can be the symbol of true unity of the Muslim countries in the face of events and common interests. It can speak on behalf of its members, make demands, carry out requisite measures, and enjoy their financial, economic, and political backing. It can serve as a troubleshooting liaison among its members. Whenever measures and activities for an enormous task and a common objective require co-ordination, the Organisation can act as the co-ordinator. Where needed, it can engage in arbitration, and when beneficial, it can offer advice and consultations. At present, though the world of Islam has a share of less than 20 percent of the global trade -- which is the approximate ratio of Muslims compared to the overall world population -- very insignificant percentage of this amount is devoted to trade among the Islamic states. The Organisation can play an active role in this effective economic area, which will have impacts on politics of these countries as well. Currently, some of our countries enjoy precious natural and productive facilities, as well as academic, industrial, and cultural capacities and capabilities, while some other countries are in dire need of these. 

The Organisation can seriously intervene in fostering a logical and just exchange of these facilities. Today and forever, large groups of Muslims are inflicted by heart aching pains that entail immediate solution and panacea. For instance, at present, some Afghan states, such as Bamian, are exposed to public starvation and terribly cold winter conditions. The people of Iraq are gripped by one of the most difficult problems in their history due to scarcity of foodstuff and medicine. Lives of millions of human beings, especially children, are threatened there. In Algeria, the most gruesome crimes are perpetrated by covert hands to accuse the Islamists with them and to defile Islam. In Bosnia, Kashmir, Somalia, Karabakh, and some other regions, the Muslims are beset with problems. The Organisation of the Islamic Conference can set up special committees to see to these issues and solve the tangles with an effective measure in which all members have a share. To activate the Organisation in issues related to the member states, we need no one and nothing except public will and financial donations of the rich Islamic countries. The possible opposition of governments that stand to lose from Muslim unity will not be able to create any barriers along the way , If our resolve is firm. When the Muslim people of the Balkans were barbarically subjected to genocide and when the nation was standing alone and defending its Islamic identity in the face of the organised military Invasion of some countries and the indifference of other countries, the need for such a centre was felt to allay a part of the sufferings of those brothers and to significantly tilt the balance of global equations in favour of that oppressed nation. 

Right now, the presence of foreign warships and more importantly the U.S. military muscle flexing in the Persian Gulf, which is an Islamic sea and an important source of energy for the entire world, is faced with insecurity. A powerful Organisation of Islamic Conference can on the one hand use the medium of Islamic power and dignity to force the aliens to dispense with this Intervention and on the other hand eliminate the pretexts for this improper presence (in the region). The Organisation can, when needed, deploy forces from the Islamic countries to preserve and safeguard peace and security in this area. At present, Muslim minorities are intensely in pain in some countries due to discrimination, oppression, and discriminatory treatments. It is incumbent on all Muslims to aid and assist them. But in order to offer serious and acceptable assistance within the framework of international relations, we are in need of an Islamic inter - nation centre. And which centre can be more adequate than the Organisation of the Islamic Conference? There are scores of incomplete and half - done enterprises, each of which is the duty of all Islamic governments. I only mentioned some examples. In all these Islamic government can fill the vacuum for Islamic instances, no inter - governmental centre. Brothers and Sisters and Dear Guests, Let us benefit from the opportunities with the succour of the Almighty and gain greater proximity. Let us strengthen and cement the centre than binds us together The Organisation of the Islamic Conference should be able to follow up its resolutions until full implementation so that such meetings would be fructifying for our nations. 

The Organisation of the Islamic Conference should, moreover, be able to establish the inter-parliamentary union of the Islamic countries and translate the idea of the common Islamic market from a farfetched dream to a reality. It should lay the foundations for the Islamic arbitration tribunal. And finally as the representative of 55 Islamic countries and one billion and several million people, the Organisation of the Islamic Conference should become a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council and be the sixth member with veto right so long as this right exists. This was an account of the future prospects of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference, and this can delineate and depict the future Prospects of the Islamic Ummah. 

And peace be upon you, and the mercy and blessings of Allah.

Leader orders end to rallies in support of the leader (26.11.1997)

Excerpt from speech by leader Ayatollah Khamene'i delivered on the occasion of Basij Week - broadcast by Iranian TV on 26th November:

... Here I would like to request everybody to stop all the rallies [in support of the leader]. It is enough. There is enough time for coming on the scene and to rally for issues which this nation is always facing. There is no need to continue these demonstrations. I request from people all over the country to stop their demonstrations. Of course, writers and speakers should inform the people. The duty to guide people is a divine responsibility.

Concerning this issue, some may think that injustice was done against me personally. If I myself have been subjected to any injustice by anyone, I personally forgive them completely. I have no complaint against anyone. Of course, our esteemed imam [Khomeyni] had a great deal to say to the people in those 10 years, some of which he mentioned to the people and most of which he did not.

I also have things to say, and if God Almighty allows us to speak before Him, we will discuss them with Him. There is no need for everything to be said. In this issue, I have no personal grudge. But I will not allow the right of the people to be violated.

[Chants of "God is great", "Khamene'i is the leader".]

Please pay attention. Those who tried to create anxiety among the people, those who tried to disturb peace and security, those who imagined they could make the people confront each other by creating discord among the people, they have committed acts of treason against the people, against the revolution and against the country. They should be dealt with according to the law and within the framework of the law. I urge you not to do anything against the law. I urge you not to commit any illegal act. No-one should try and seek to punish anyone. This matter should be left to the law. Acts of revenge should not be committed under any circumstances. Act of revenge has no place here. We should take revenge from arrogant enemies in an appropriate time...

Source: Vision of the Islamic Republic of Iran Network 1, Tehran, in Persian 1110 gmt 26 Nov 97

Speech to the Hazrat-e Rasul 27th Division and Basiji personnel (26.11.1997)

IRIB Television First Program Network, 26 Nov 97

[Passage omitted: greeting the audience and praying in Arabic] This year the anniversary of the formation of the auspicious 20-million-strong army, which was commanded by our wise, departed Imam, has coincided with a period which contains historically memorable events. [passage omitted: on the anniversary of the martyrdom of the seventh Shiite Imam; the upcoming anniversary of the Prophet Mohammed’s prophetic mission; giving a background to the formation of the basij; stressing the importance of its role in the defence and development of the country; praising its personnel; stressing the importance of piety and being close to God during the holy month of Ramadan; praising Khomeini for his achievements, greatness, sincerity, decisiveness].

My dear ones, no one should think that enemy plots have ended 18 years after the victory of the revolution. No, the enemy will not stop fighting a system which has taken away the illegitimate interests of arrogance in the region. Verbally, they say things, but the truth is otherwise. The Islamic system, thanks to the great effort of the Iranian nation and that divine leadership, has been able to create a model in the world which is looked up to by many Muslim nations today. Do you think that arrogance can easily forget such a thing? Today, in every corner of Muslim countries, and even some non-Muslim countries, every nation or every society that objects to the excesses of world arrogance, copies the slogans and methods of the Iranian nation, and even uses the name of the Iranian nation and the late Imam.

[crowd chants God is great, Khamene'i is the leader]

America and its arrogant agents, followers, and mercenaries will not overlook that. They fight, they plot, they resort to ploys and tricks, as they have done in the past 18 years. Of course, the enemy's tricks and ploys will be foiled through the alertness, vigilance, and active presence of the nation and the correct behaviour of the nation and the government. They will have no effect, but we must be alert and vigilant; we must strengthen our bond with God; we must strengthen piety. I say to you, enemy plots in the past were different from those today. In the past the enemy plots were raw. That is, America, world arrogance,

and big companies affiliated to the Zionists and others, who wanted to fight the Iranian nation and revolution, used simpler methods which were easy to expose for everyone. For example, threats of military invasions and starting a war. It was, of course, a conspiracy, but everyone knew it. The plot would come to light and the people would resist and stand up to it. Or the American attack at the Tabas desert. It was a clear case. And the economic blockades, the propaganda attacks, and so on, and so forth. They gradually realised that they cannot defeat the Iranian nation and the Islamic revolution. That experience has led them to make their methods more complex. And the more complex their methods, the more vigilant the Iranian nation should be. The young generation should increase their preparedness. Not preparedness for war, because there is no talk of military war now. Of course, battle preparedness is also necessary just in case. However, what is necessary for everyone is spiritual preparedness--that is, ideological, psychological, and political preparedness--maintaining unity; for the various forces to be connected; strong and friendly connection between the nation and the government; recognising the enemy's face in any disguise.

The enemy comes to confront the revolution under various guises; it does not always come forward in the military uniform of such and such foreign government. A while ago, in one of the gatherings set up in a foreign country on the revolution and the dangers of the revolution for global arrogance, certain individuals who addressed the gathering had said that the Islamic revolution progressed by the clergy and with the support of the young in the seminaries and universities and, on the whole, through reliance on the young, to beat the revolution we must use the same instrument; we must go to the seminaries, to clergy, to the universities so that we might inflict a blow against the revolution. Little did they know that our seminaries are alert, our universities are alert, and our elders are alert. The plotters have misjudged the Iranian nation. In the conspiracy, whose signs you recently noticed--I do not wish to go into the details of such things, I do not wish to name names. However, the Iranian nation must pay proper attention to the nub of the situation, understand the depth of the conspiracy. Dearly beloved, we will not make a mistake in recognising the enemy. Let the enemy know this. Let them not imagine that if they encourage several simple individuals, clerics, to make certain remarks we will make the mistake of taking these as our enemies. These are nobodies.

[crowd chants: God is Great! Death to the anti-revolutionaries! Death to Israel!]

The enemy hides itself behind the curtain. It does not come forward. It does not show itself. The enemy tries not to be recognised. The person who, on his own reckoning, bears his chest and steps forward is just an agent. He may not even realise himself that he is a mere agent. He may not even realise himself that he is a mere agent. The eminent Imam used to say that sometimes the enemy, using ten intermediaries, incites someone to say something or do something. If you seek to identify the enemy, you must go through ten intermediaries. In Iran, the enemies of the revolution, that is to say the lackeys of global arrogance, can easily find ten intermediaries and send them to Qom seminary, encourage a wretched person to make certain remarks, to take up a wrong and inept position. There are so many people in our country who are political bankrupts, who have been dealt blows by the revolution, they have been given a slap in the face by this same basiji force, have been dealt blows by the revolutionary courts; those who had hoped for the former tyrannical regime to stay on in power in order to exploit it, but were deprived of that; the former Savakies [savak]. There are enough of them to make up the ten intermediaries to carry a statement, a lie to a certain wretched, miserable person who might be imagining that now was the time to make certain remarks and thus put himself, his wife, and children, and others in peril. One must be vigilant. I do hope that the Iranian nation does not make a mistake in identifying the enemy. Know the enemy: the global arrogance is the enemy, America is the enemy, the Zionists are the enemy.

[crowd chants: Death to America! Death to Israel!]

Please pay attention. The enemy has tried all sorts of methods to fight against the revolution. This time, they thought they would use a more effective method by targeting the leadership. Undoubtedly, following much study and finding out about various situations and, of course, true and false reports, they came to the conclusion that the leadership must be targeted. Why? Because they realise that if there is a strong leadership in the country, all their plots will be foiled.

[crowd chants: God is Great! Khamene'i is the leader! Death to the anti-revolutionaries! Death to America! Death to Israel!]

Otherwise, they are not concerned with personalities. Personalities are not important to them. It does not matter who the leader is. Did not the same people who today speak with such harsh language and utter streams of calumny and accusation stand up against the Imam. They did stand up to the Imam. They made the Imam's heart bleed, something that he has referred to in his letter. They are against the leadership because they know that the leadership in the Islamic and Iranian community is the resolver of problems.

Leadership means the focal point where the problems of the government - any government - are resolved. Anywhere, pay attention, anywhere the enemy propaganda does something that will make the people pessimistic about the government, it is the words of the leadership which clarifies the truth for the people, unmasks the enemy plot. Did you not see in past years what they used to do to statesmen and officials, and how they were trying to spread black propaganda, use various ploys, in order to make people despair. When they try to make people despair, it is the leadership which gives hope to the people. Where they seek to create an international political conspiracy, it is the leadership which steps forward and places the integrity of the revolution up against the conspiracy; like the recent European incident where, as you saw, it forced the enemy to retreat. Where they seek to create a dispute among the people's various factions, it is the leadership which steps forward to make people hold hands together, to create sympathy and prevent rifts. Where they seek to empty polling stations of the electorate, make people despair of turning out, it is the leadership which warms people's hearts and tells them that voting is a duty so that people show trust and turn out, and create an epic.

Where the people need to express their views about the issues relating to the revolution, they hang on the leadership's words. During the period under the departed Imam, they tried the same thing time and again, and got a slap in the face. By God's grace, following the passing away of the late Imam, the boiling, strong union between the people and the leadership has managed to deliver a heavy blow to the enemy's mouth in the same way.

[crowd chants: God is Great! Khamene'i is the leader! Death to the anti-revolutionaries!]

It is quite natural that they oppose our leadership. They are bearing a deep grudge. This is not at all surprising. Of course, they only oppose a powerful leader. They will not care much about a weak leader, who is a leader in name only, is never mentioned in the news, whose mind can be altered easily, and who could easily be duped. [passage omitted: repeating the point]

I am not surprised that they have targeted the leadership. But the nation is awake. Praise be to God, the ulema, dignitaries, and the state authorities demonstrated extreme vigilance. As always, as soon as they realised that there was a conspiracy... [pauses]

Well, there are many speeches delivered in the world. There are many leaflets distributed secretly at night. There is an abundance of false remarks, calumny, allegations, and lies. However, not every allegation and lie is a conspiracy. Not every rumour is spread by the enemy. Knowledgeable and alert people identify those rumours which are conspired by the enemy. The first person, who entered the arena during the past couple of weeks and spoke against these rumours, was our dear President His Excellency Mr. Khatami. During an interview, in a very precise and tactful manner, he informed the people and cleared their minds from the enemy's installations. The people then confronted the enemies' conspiracy. As a result they became very angry.

The presidential election this year was a happy event for the people. To the people it was not a small matter that 30 million of them took part in the elections, that a president was elected by winning 20 million of the votes, that a cabinet was formed, that the Islamic Majlis endorsed all the cabinet ministers, and that the ministers continue their work all over the country, and submit their reports on time. All these developments tasted sweet to the people, but in the same proportion were bitter to the enemy. The enemies could not bear it. They realised that the people's proper and popular move was directed from a focal point. The focal point is the nation's unity, solidarity, and faith. They decided to destroy this unity, this faith, and this solidarity of the people. They intended to demonstrate to the world that there was a division within the Islamic Republic's system.

Most of the false analyses come from the foreign radio stations. Various people listen to these radio stations, but unfortunately some gullible people believe the enemies' propaganda. Our enemies spend money to set up such radio stations to brainwash their targeted listeners. If you listen to these radio stations now, you will realise that they have resorted to hue and cry just to prove that there is division, discord, and enmity in the Islamic Republic of Iran. They want to pretend as if the so-called divided factions cannot bear each other. You poor and desperate!

You have neither understood the Iranian people nor their revolution. You have not understood our clergy and officials either. It was thanks to your ignorance that you were defeated in our revolution. It was because of your ignorance and wrong analyses that you have been suffering repeated defeats over the past 18 years. Thanks to the blessings of our revolution, you were defeated by our people this time too. You must blame your mistakes for your defeat. You will be defeated until the end. [shouts of approval from the crowd]

The enemy tried to make the world believe that there were two opposing factions, who did not agree on the authority, whereas he explained the matter in an interview. It then became clear that there were obvious acts of provocation. Everyone is aware of his own obligations and can help each other by kindness. Here, the enemy was frustrated; and later the eminent ayatollahs, the honourable sources of emulation in Qom... [pauses]

One of the important divine blessings in this country is our capable sources of emulation. A well-informed source of emulation is greater than any other divine gift to the people. But it should be a knowledgeable source of emulation, whose thoughts are not influenced by the enemy's propaganda. It should be a source of emulation who, for his political analysis, does not receive inspiration from Radio Israel. This is highly valuable. You saw how our sources of emulation stood firm against these murmurs and the rumours fabricated by the enemy. Later the Qom seminary, the clergy in Qom and from other major cities and towns in the country clarified their stance. It became clear that the Iranian nation is awake. To be fair, both the nation, and the officials, and the clergy demonstrated a very good stance. I would like to thank each and everyone of them. I am not thanking them for me as a person. The issue here, my dear ones, is not this or that person. I am like the rest of you, and the same as any individual among you must defend the Islamic system, the Islamic leadership, and the principle of velayat-e faqih [Guardianship of the Supreme Jurisconsult] as the backbone of this system. This is my duty. It is a religious obligation and not a personal matter. In view of my heavy burden of responsibility, I would like to offer my sincere gratitude to everyone who entered the arena at this juncture to silence the enemy and to punch the enemy in the mouth.

[shouts of support for Khamene'i; death to America, hypocrites and Montazeri]

Here I would like to request everyone to stop all the rallies. It is enough. There is enough time for coming on the scene and to rally for issues which this nation is always facing. There is no need to continue these demonstrations. I request from people all over the country to stop their demonstrations. Of course, writers and speakers should inform the people. The duty to guide people is a divine responsibility. Concerning this issue, some may think that injustice was done against me personally. If I myself have been subjected to any injustice by anyone, I personally forgive them completely. I have no complaint against anyone.

Of course, our esteemed Imam had a great deal to say to the people in those 10 years, some of which he mentioned to the people and most of which he did not. I also have things to say, and if God Almighty allows us to speak before Him, we will discuss them with Him. There is no need for everything to be said. In this issue, I have no personal grudge. But I will not allow the right of the people to be violated.

[chants of: "God is great," "Khamene'i is the leader"]

Please pay attention. Those who tried to create anxiety among the people, those who tried to disturb peace and security, those who imagined they could make the people confront each other by creating discord among the people, they have committed acts of treason against the people, against the revolution, and against the country. They should be dealt with according to the law and within the framework of the law. I urge you not to do anything against the law. I urge you not to commit any illegal act. No one should try and seek to punish anyone. This matter should be left to the law. Acts of revenge should not be committed under any circumstances. Acts of revenge have no place here. We should take revenge from arrogant enemies at an appropriate time. It is not worth taking revenge from those who act out of ignorance and short-lived desires, human desires which stem from ugly habits, jealousy, and other things. But law should be implemented. If certain acts which have been committed, and I have been informed more of such acts are being planned, if those actions are illegal, which they are, if they are acts of treason, which they are, then executive and judiciary officials should perform their duties and deal with them. Of course, I know that they will perform their duties and will not show any weakness in this respect.

[chants of: "God is great," "Khamene'i is the leader," "death to those who oppose velayat-e faqih"]

My dear ones, my dear people, please...

[crowd interrupting with chants]

The thing that is, my dear people, pay attention, the thing that is important is that every single member of the nation, especially young people, especially the members of the Basij, school children's Basij, university students' Basij, workers' Basij, trade guilds' Basij, tribal Basij, all the different units of the Basij, people who are not members of the Basij Organisation but who are, in reality, members of the Basij should - each and everyone of them - be prepared to carry out their duty, be ready, prepare themselves for defending Islam and the revolution. Defence, too, is not something that must always be carried out using

instruments of force, it is not with fists, with guns. Sometimes defence occurs through understanding. Sometimes defence occurs through words. Sometimes the defence of the truth occurs through one's presence at a certain place. Perhaps one of the greatest services the revolution rendered to the Iranian people was that it opened people's minds, it politicised people's minds, it opened people's eyes. It familiarised everyone with international issues and the affairs of the country. This familiarity, this understanding must grow with every passing day, it must increase. If this occurs, the enemy will not be able to do anything. And you should know that the country's officials are all ready to carry out their duties in the best possible way. Today, the officials of the judicial branch, the officials of the legislative branch, the officials of the executive branch, the members of the cabinet, the eminent President himself, all the people involved, military and law enforcement forces, people who hold responsibility in various areas, they are all ready to perform that which is their divine and Islamic duty. There is no weakness or hesitation whatsoever. And everyone is moving in the same direction. Let the enemy not look at a difference of opinion over this or that political issue and imagine: there are differences between them. No. There are no differences whatsoever between them over society's main concerns, over the honour of the revolution and the fundamental affairs of Islam. They are uniform. And the eminent clergy and the great ones of the seminaries, too, are, as always, standing in front of the rank and file, and they are moving.

For my own part, I have also asked Exalted God to allow my unworthy body and life to be placed at the service of this same path and at the service of Islam and the Iranian nation. That which is within my power and which Exalted God has entrusted to me--in terms of body, life, capabilities--will, one and all, with God's grace, be put at the service of this path and confront the enemy. Let the enemy know: This Islamic revolution is the same revolution that shook arrogance's imperial throne, possessing that same force, that same splendour, that same impressiveness and, with God's grace, with those same victories and making the same progress. [crowd chants]

And the vast force consisting of this nation's youth... [crowd interrupting with chants of "We are ready, we are ready"]

God be praised, the country's vast youth force is also on stage. May God protect you all. May He further enlighten your shining hearts with the rays of His knowledge. May He, God willing, bestow His kindness and grace upon you

all. And may the sacred presence of the Lord of the Age--may our souls be sacrificed to him and may God hasten his advent--be pleased with you all. And may the sacred spirit of the eminent Imam include you in its prayers.

May God's peace and blessings be upon you.

Confirmation Speech to Khatami's Presidential Inauguration (3.8.1997)

In the Name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful

Today, praise be to God, is a blessed day for the Iranian nation and we hope that the Almighty will descend His blessings on this nation, the officials and the dear president who is officially taking the rein of power as of today. God willing, we will all be able to benefit from the Divine blessings and pious prayers of the twelfth Imam (may God hasten his reappearance). This great Divine donation, God willing, will have eternal and notable blessings.

At this crucial juncture, praise be to God, the country is in a situation that any other country or nation enjoying the same condition and capital, would have the right to look at its future with a rational and relevant optimism. We can witness signs and traces of Divine blessings and assistance in all the events. This 30 million vote (at the 7th presidential elections) is a manifestation of the grace of the Almighty to the Islamic Republic system.

When the propaganda loudspeakers of the countries which claim to advocate democracy, right at a time that they were claiming that the Iranian nation has split from its revolution and system and has turned its back to the ideals of its Imam, the nation came into the scene and fulfilling the last will of the Imam, launched a magnificent election which we had rarely witnessed since the culmination of the revolution. Look, what a Divine blessing it was! As our great Imam said once and I myself have experienced this in my responsibilities in various capacities, whenever we face hardship, the Almighty renders His assistance to us.

My dear ones! You must know that hncidents occur that the state officials, those who are informed of the events, including those behind the scene, know that the factor behind this incident cannot be something ordinary and natural and that nothing but the Divine dispensation was behind this event (elections). We really believe so... Therefore, Divine assistance is something natural and evident. We have enjoyed Divine blessings and assistance so far and we will continue to enjoy it in future as well...

@nother major factor which we must taken into consideration is that of this great nation. A nation who is on the side of the government, interested in the ruling system, ready to make sacrifices for it whenever necessary, a faithful nation, a nation present in the scene, a nation who has proved in the past that wherever necessary it will enter the scene to protect its country, the Islamic system and Islam. This has been the case in the past and will be so in the future. The war scene demonstrated this and before that, the revolution proved this. During the recent years, the construction era also proved that the Iranian nation maintains a sincere, enthusiastic and cordial presence in the scene, wherever its presence is needed. Nobody is begged for his favor, everybody feels obliged and enters the scene. This will the case in the future, too.

Of course it is unlikely for us to have a military experience in the future but if we assume that this may again occur to an ignorant person or system to challenge our people militarily, they would once again have to deal with this same nation, this same youth and this same dynamic and faithful people who are present everywhere, in the elections, in the political scene, in demonstrations and in decision-makings. This nation is a great asset. This nation is loyal to the Imam and tows his path. Even now, the most popular person among this nation and in their hearts is our great Imam - Imam Khomeini (peace be upon him) no matter what others say or analyze.

It is a blunder for somebody to ask others about his own conditions. Some are of the habit to sit and see what the news circles affiliated to Zionists, oppressors and capitalists who are against Islam, Muslims and the Islamic system are telling about Iran! Obviously, they cannot tell the reality; they cannot even realize the fact. They do not know our nation, country, system, officials and personalities. You can see how many mistakes they are making. You see the way they comment about our dignitaries. All the informed and specialized persons laugh at their naivety. They speak out their dreams! It is the same old story of the "camel and cottonseed." They express as an analysis what they have in their mind and what they want.

This is not the story of the Iranian nation. The story of this nation is what you are witnessing. The story of this nation is written in the scenes of the eight year sacred defense (Iraqi war). The story of the Iranian nation is their 30 million vote in the recent (presidential) elections. The Iranian nation is a Muslim and revolutionary nation, who has faith in Imam, is interested in the Islamic system, is ready to defend the ideals and values it believes in and is committed to them.

This is a great asset. Any government and administration, having such a backing and nation behind it, should be hopeful about the future, must feel powerful, must feel that it can work and that it has the duty to work.

What I would like to remind the officials of the future government and the dear president who, thanks be to God, pays attention to these points, is that all our efforts should be aimed to first know the nation and secondly meet their needs. We are indebted to this nation. It is this nation who preserved the country. It is the nation who, in fact, is the sign of the power of the Almighty.

I was going through the statements of the great Imam when inaugurating the (previous) presidents and noticed that in all his speeches he has talked to all of them constantly about the people and the nation, the oppressed and the poor in particular. These are the forces who have been and will remain loyal to the revolution, the Imam and various governments. This is the same wisdom of the Imam, the same thing that when we observe or study from various perspectives, we realize that it is proper and preferred.

The dear ones who will assume responsibility in a near future must make use of these permanent assets and serve them as much as they can.

Praise be to the Almighty, this is the situation at present, this is our people and this is a country which has taken long and major strides towards development. Maybe during the previous regime, even part of what has been accomplished in the reconstruction era had not been carried out because nothing was done properly. If they did anything for the country, from quantitative point of view, was really little compared to what has been done in this short period. Even the little they did was so distorted because it did not manifest the independence of the nation.

The former regime's policies were dependent. A few relatively brave statesmen managed to write an oil contract at the time of Reza Khan (of the Pahlavi Dynasty) which paid little attention to the people's rights. Under the pressures exerted by the British, Reza Khan, with his boots on, entered the room where the cabinet was meeting, took the oil file and threw it into the fireplace before the eyes of everybody and burnt it! This has been related by themselves, people such as Taqizadeh and others.

Their policy was that of dependence. Even the railroads they tried to complete, served the interests of the allied forces rather than those of Iran and its trade. Because it was to the advantage of the allied forces to establish a link between two of their fronts, fighting against Germany on those days.

The North-South railroad aimed to connect the then Soviet Union to the south where the British troops were stationed in the Persian Gulf and to supply them with arms to enable them resist against the Germans and its allies.

The proponents of the notorious regime and the remnants of the former regime talk about the North-South railway even now after 50 years, a railway which came into existence on the basis of a treacherous plan, failing to observe the nation's independence.

You see, the huge railroads constructed after the (Iraqi) war in Iran is what the Iranian nation requires. An Orientalist who had traveled to Iran on those days, says, "I am very surprised that the Iranian railroad has not passed through the major trade centers of the country, the same places that have been linked to the network today thanks God and thanks to the efforts of the Islamic Republic.

Neither in quality nor in quantity, what had been done before the Islamic Republic in this country is comparable to what this popular and Divine Islamic Republic system has carried out. This shows what an spiritual and faithful system it is. Enjoying popular backing and having faith, spirituality, brotherhood, coordination, reliance on the Almighty and belief in the invisible (Imam), must have such consequences.

Despite all the enmity, conspiracies, opposition, various political, economic sanctions and propaganda wars, the Iranian nation has managed to support its governments. The governments too have been able to run the state affairs in terms of development as well as political and international prestige and national strength. This is a great Divine blessing - and a manifestation of the same power I talked about, i.e.- the Almighty has always supported and will support this nation.

This is what I have been recommending and still stress; I myself have focused all my attempts on this and advise others to do so; that efforts should be made to root out poverty, injustice and discrimination, a heritage of the diabolic regimes of the pre-revolution era.

If we fail to take this issue into consideration, what we have accomplished would be incomplete even if we achieve a result far better than what has been done during the recent years and under the administration of our dear brother Mr. Hashemi (the outgoing president).

My dear ones! The Islamic Republic is not a capitalist system. Four years ago on the inauguration day (of Mr. Hashemi Rafsanjani), I made the same statement to the audience. The capitalist system is after accumulation of wealth, economic flourishing, the national income on the whole. It does not care how this wealth is accumulated, who will make use of it and what percentage of the people use it.

This system believes that the national income should be high and economic efforts should be supported; The laws and the executive power are drawn towards this objective. The maximum they can do - of course not in all capitalist countries - is to provide insurance and some guarantees to the oppressed and deprived classes.

The Islamic system is not like that. The logic in the Islamic system is that justice is the principle. Of course people accumulate wealth. The Islamic administration is not after a poor society with petty public income. It makes use of wealth, advances science, exploits underground resources, helps people develop spiritually, launches on trade and puts into operation its industry. The history of Islam indicates that thanks to these same Divine principles, during the rule of Islam, the Islamic society made immense achievements and progressed in science and industry in the entire world.

Yet, all these activities were directed towards justice, there is wealth but justice should be guaranteed in the society. For justice we are in expectation of the 12th Imam (May God hasten his reappearance). All the prophets have been appointed to establish justice... These are very meaningful statements mentioned in the holy Qur’an and Nahjulbalagha (the sayings of the first Imam, Ali (a.s.)). These remarks have been brought up in the statements of the Infallible.

This is equity. We don't say that all should enjoy the same right. Because it is not possible since motivations, capabilities and efforts are different. Some make more efforts and some less. Some have a better power of innovation; talents are not equal... People differ in their talents and abilities. The question is not that people should be the same but that everybody should be able to work with respect to his/her talents, strive according to his/her ambition and gain as much as they have power, nobody must remain oppressed and deprived. This is the main objective.

When we came to office, on the day of struggle, we strived; on the day we were made proposals for accepting responsibilities, we accepted in one way or the other. Those who are not acquainted with our culture, should believe this - although we know they wouldn't - that responsibilities are not attractive to us. Those from among ourselves and those closely familiar with this culture and these people know this. These responsibilities are valuable and attractive only for the sake of safeguarding social justice and Divine laws.

Of course lots of things have been done in this regard. It is ungratefulness if we don't mention the efforts made by our dear brothers in various positions in the past. But a longer way, in comparison with what has been traversed so far, is in front of us. We have to perform greater work than what we have done so far. The direction of the activities of the government - be it in cultural, economic or construction areas - must be on this basis, while the activities are divergent.

Thanks be to the Almighty, the elections were held very well and coupled with popular contentment. Today one feels that it is an auspicious day for our nation and the country. This is also a Divine blessing.

May the Almighty bless this day and this event, subject us to His blessings, suppress the enemies of this nation and fulfill their great wishes. May God assist the dear president and the officials whom he will choose in the grave task they have ahead...

May the peace of God and His mercy be upon you all."

AYATOLLAH KHAMENE'I ‘s speech addressing a group of workers and teachers on 30th April 1997,

EUROPEAN "IMPUDENCE" WILL NOT BE TOLERATED

Source: Voice of the Islamic Republic of Iran Network 1, Tehran, in Persian 1010 gmt 30 Apr 97 The following are excerpts from Ay. Khamene'i's speech, broadcast by Iranian radio: In the name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate. Welcome my dear brothers and sisters... My dear ones, let me tell you that today Islamic Iran is going through a highly significant and sensitive phase. The era is highly significant, the same as the [Iran-Iraq] war years. That period was important for a different reason and so is today. Today our enemies abroad, that is, the arrogant states, have sat down staring at Iran. They are waiting to see whether they can bring down the Iranian nation from its principled and Islamic stances. This is their ambition. There is a chain in the world at the top of which lie those arrogant countries, who consider themselves advanced. There are some European countries and there is America. They are at the top of the chain. And - like in the game children play, where there are some in front and the rest hold their skirts and run after them - they [arrogant countries] draw behind them small, poor and weak countries and governments lacking popular support. Whatever direction those [arrogant] countries choose is imposed on the followers. Those wretched countries have made the bully boys get used to bullying. In my opinion, most of the fault in strong governments bullying others today lies with regimes that, owing to their weakness, have made the bullies used to being blatant, to expecting too much and bullying others. For 17 or 18 years now, Islamic Iran has been saying to those countries: Be independent, think of your nations, govern yourselves, preserve your culture, your independence, and follow your path. Why do you follow others? The Iranian government and nation are standing like a mountain and are not yielding to others' expectations and bullying. However in the past [before the revolution] Iran was like one of those countries that was at the back of line, holding the skirt of the ones in front and running after them. Since the revolution, and particularly since the war ended, they [the West] said now that the war is over and they [the Iranians] want to rebuild the country, perhaps under the pressure of their needs, we can force them to retreat from their stances and come back and follow arrogant countries. But they saw that it did not happen. Throughout these years, the Iranian nation has travelled both the path of progress - God be praised, long strides have been taken towards the development of the country. Many things have been achieved in the country. And, in terms of political stances on international issues, it has made its stances clearer, more explicit and more decisive with every passing day: It will not surrender to them. They are trying to exert pressure [on Iran]. At such times, the Iranian nation must think hard about strengthening itself. Throughout these years ahead, when they have not yet abandoned hope, the Iranian nation must work hard so that it reaches the point when it will not have the slightest dependence on anyone beyond its borders - true self-reliance, in other words, in the full sense of the expression, so that they will not be able to bully us. Look at that very meeting that was held by European foreign ministers yesterday. They sat down and talked nonsense. The adopted incorrect stances; they made a declaration and ended the meeting. What was the aim? The aim was to exert pressure on the Iranian government and the Iranian nation. They said rude things at yesterday's meeting. The Iranian nation and the Iranian government must demonstrate that we will show a very severe and decisive response to bullying, arrogant and rude governments. [Crowd chants in support] One of their very wrong statements came when they decided to hold a meeting to put together their wise heads. They said: Let us go and ask Iran to respect human rights. The more I kept thinking of a name for their stance - I wondered what the meaning of their action was - [the more] I came to the conclusion that I could find no other name for it but impudence. These gentlemen exhibited impudence by expressing this statement. Human rights indeed! The worst instances of human rights violations were perpetrated by European governments in this century. That is, 100 years of abuse. Even if we go back to read the history of Europe in previous centuries we will not find anything else. I have read the history of Europe a great deal, but let us go through the past 100 years only. The same gentlemen of Europe waged two world wars full of sedition. The two world wars were their work. The same European gentlemen colonized dozens of countries in the world. The same gentlemen who sat down in Luxembourg yesterday to compare the length of their beards [expression meaning idle talking and wasting time], talked to one another and issued a so-called wise statement. The sins of colonialism, that is to say, the violation of other nations' rights is a burden of responsibility on the shoulders of the same governments, whose representatives sat down yesterday to discuss the status of human rights in Iran. This [colonialism] was an example of their human rights violation in recent decades. That has to do with past decades. During our own time, who created the chemical weapons plants in Iraq, which wrought so many tragedies? These same gentlemen. Who created nuclear installations in Iraq which were threatening the entire region? Iraq's nuclear installations, where they wanted to manufacture an atomic bomb - these same gentlemen. Who is laying the groundwork for and justifying the crimes committed by Israel, which commits a crime every passing day? These same gentlemen. These same governments. Look, these men who are sitting here are the relatives of the martyrs of Qana [Lebanon]. Last year, the Zionist government committed one of its most tragic crimes before the eyes of these men. Did they say anything? Did they even utter a reprimand? Was that not wrong? This is the extent to which their being is intertwined with the violation of human rights. At the moment, so many crimes are being committed in the occupied territories. Lebanon is bombarded daily - ordinary people's homes. They come into Lebanese villages. They land with their helicopters, take people on board and take them to prison. Before the eyes of these same European gentlemen. They are together in this. Nothing. Do they say a word? Not at all. Do they become angry? Not at all. In the Bosnia-Hercegovina affair, so many tragedies were brought about. Then, when they saw that it was becoming really ugly - other crimes may occur outside Europe. This was occurring within Europe itself. They created a bit of a hue and cry. They did not undertake any correct and real measure. Today, the Muslims are still under pressure from the Serbs. Right now. Criminals who killed or buried alive thousands of people or starved them to death in prisons are walking freely right now in Europe. No-one objects to them. These gentlemen, these European governments, with so many crimes that have either been committed by themselves or have been committed before their eyes while they were silent - how can they have the nerve to say to Islamic Iran, to a popular system, to a brave nation that it is a violator of human rights? Is this anything other than shamelessness? They are truly shameless. Iran does not "give a damn" about dialogue with Europe Now, they have supposedly frightened the Iranian government by saying: We will suspend critical dialogue. Who gives a damn? Are we demanding dialogue? If there is to be any criticism, we are the ones who are critical of you. The name of these talks was wrong from the start. I always said from the beginning that these talks should be called bilateral criticism. If there is to be criticism, it should come from both sides. We are more critical of you than you are of us. What is your criticism? Your criticism is: Why do you observe Islamic principles? This is a source of pride to us. Look, see how shameless, cruel, ill-willed, unjust, impudent the enemies of the Iranian nation are. That is how they are. The enemies of the Islamic Republic. Of course, the Iranian nation has seen worse cases than these enmities and has stood firm like a mountain. Do you think anyone in Iran cares what they have said? Of course, our government has, God be praised, taken very good stances regarding their ugly behaviour. From now on, too, it must proceed from a position of strength. First of all, they [the Iranian government] should not allow the German ambassador to come to Iran for now, for a while. They should not allow him in. [Crowd chants in support: God is Great, Khamene'i is leader, Death to America, Death to Israel.] As to the rest, the ones who want to come, to return, well, as a kind of conciliatory move so to speak; well, they went themselves, they are to come back themselves - as if their departure was very important. They saw that it was not important at all. Now, they want to come back. All right. If they want to come back, there is nothing wrong with that. However, there should be no haste in the return of Iranian ambassadors to those countries. Take your time. See what is appropriate. Whatever is dictated by Islamic honour - as we have always said - they should act in accordance with that. The truth is this: Let both the Europeans and others know this: Let Europe not think that we need it. Not at all. We have no need of Europe. We can manage our country even without Europe. Now, let us assume that a number of luxury or cosmetic goods, which are being imported from this or that country, stop coming. Well, that is fine. What does it matter? We produce domestically what our nation needs, and if there is something that we need, there are many countries which are queuing up to sell it to us. What do we need those few European countries for? They think they own the world. Of course, in my opinion, they [European countries] were deceived in this affair. They were deceived by the Zionists and the Americans. That is, the Americans exerted pressure on them. But they did not realize who they were dealing with. They do not realize the fact that Islamic Iran is not a country which can be forced to relinquish its positions or be forced to surrender to anyone. Iran is a country which, despite the obstacles put in its way by big powers, for the past 18 years, has been, wholeheartedly, bravely and in a dignified manner, achieving what it has achieved so far... This nation is alive. This nation is alert. This is a happy, constructive nation which does not need anyone else. We do not need anyone. Those who wish to have links with Iran should know that if relations were to become arrogant, the Iranian nation will reject them. My dear ones, teachers, workers, young people and all of you in whose hands the country's stability, independence and backbone are placed: You shoulder a heavy burden of responsibility. Can you see how unfair your enemy is? Can you see how ruthless and shameless the enemy is? If you wish to be saved from the enemy's domination, you must work hard. Everybody must work hard. Everyone must perform his task with care to please God and to enable this Islamic state, this proud and prosperous Iran, to stand against the enemy, and to make everyone realize that thanks to the blessings of Islam, no enemy can bully or exploit this nation. May God's peace and mercy be upon you all. [Crowd chants in support].

Ayatollah Khamene'i speaking in Bandar Abbas to the troops taking part in the exercises (23. 4.1997)

Source: Vision of the Islamic Republic of Iran Network 1, Tehran, in Persian 1230 gmt 23 Apr 97 In the name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate... In the 18-year life of the revolution the Iranian nation has staged a continual great political, military and humanitarian manoeuvre for the benefit of mankind. All the manoeuvres which were staged for real on the battlefields in the [Iran-Iraq] war and those staged nowadays in the form of drills and preparations here and there are part and parcel of the great manoeuvre of the Iranian nation. They are the show of strength of a nation which is determined to utilize its God-given forces to build its honourable life. It means that a nation, with its national integrity and a sense of honour inherent in its fabric, its history and its ideas, wishes to say no to the enemies and the aggressors... That is what these exercises mean. Our exercises do not threaten any neighbour, any nation or government. In spite of the propaganda by America and Zionism and their mouthpieces which have constantly wanted to make out that Islamic Iran is a threat to Persian Gulf countries, the Iranian nation poses no threat to Persian Gulf and neighbouring countries, nor to any other country which does not attack it. We threaten no-one; but this nation, by relying on its own strength, on God, on the instructions of the holy Koran - which has said: Rely on God and fear no-one - will stand against those powers that are used to threatening any nation that is not prepared to kneel to them, will not take their threats seriously, will defend its legitimate stances and its path, and will not retreat even a single step from its justice-seeking claims. That is the real meaning of these exercises. Yes, we threaten no-one. If some people, some governments, some politicians, or some journalists make out that Islamic Iran poses a threat to them as a neighbour, for their own and their people's entertainment, it is up to them. Our forces in the Persian Gulf and within the borders of the country are there to defend the frontiers of this proud Islamic homeland and the independence of this nation and to stand up to bullying powers. My dear ones, this nation was not backward in terms of science, culture and ideological, scientific and social progress. That was instilled in them by those aggressor powers in various periods with the assistance of corrupt rulers. They forced the Iranian nation to lag behind in human civilization, human knowledge and scientific progress. Then Islam came and revived this nation, made it become familiar with its own potentials. God Almighty sent a teacher [Khomeyni] for this nation, who spoke to it in the language of the prophets, woke it up, made it understand its rights, made it realize its own strength, made it clear to it that if a nation wishes it can achieve great miracles. And the nation woke up... Today this nation fears no power in the world. That is not an insignificant point. It feels strong. One day two superpowers - although they opposed each other on every issue, or some issues - joined forces on this issue to steer this nation away from Islam and restore the old situation; but they could not. By God, no power in the world today can steer the Iranian nation away from the proud path of Islam and the Koran. What are they thinking? What are they thinking of, the people who think otherwise? The ones who have fallen into the habit of making justified or unjustified criticism of the Iranian nation? They talk idly and write idly. Their analysis and understanding of the affairs of this country is wrong. They have not understood this nation or its language. They have not understand the language of this nation. I would like to address all the world's government officials who think and decide about Iran and the Iranian nation. I would like to tell them: please try to understand this nation properly. Wrong analysis leads to wrong solutions. When they understand this nation wrongly, they make wrong decisions about it, just like the Americans. They have never tried to understand this nation as it is. They have not understand its language. They apply the same old stereotypes, the same old phrases which apply to themselves but which may not necessarily apply to other nations. Those [stereotypes] belong to their own culture, but every nation has its own culture. Why should a nation give up its own culture, faith and understanding of issues and surrender to some other nation's culture and understanding of issues? Why do some have excessive expectations, become ossified and suffer from stereotyped ideas? Anyone who thinks or judges the Iranian nation like that is bound to make a wrong assessment of it. When it concerns world issues, the policy of the Iranian nation is a clear. The Iranian nation, because of its vision, because of its vision of its own past - because it does not ignore its own past, it studies its own history precisely, the history of those close to it from 100, 50 or 30 years ago - has realized the nature of arrogant regimes. And at this current juncture the regime of the United States of America - during the past 30 or perhaps 35 years it [America] dominated this country politically during the sinister regime of the Pahlavi [dynasty] - the Iranian nation has realized that, it has understood and had the experience that during that time they brought a great deal of harm to it. Their hands are stained with the blood of this people. They insulted this nation. They took away its wealth. They supported a corrupt and inhuman regime like that of Mohammad Reza [the shah]. Therefore, the Iranian nation has understood this. That is what the Americans did to this nation for 35 years before the revolution, and since the first day of the revolution the Americans have shown enmity towards this nation as much as they possibly could. Having seen this situation, the Iranian nation is not prepared to forgive the Americans so easily. That is all. The Iranian nation is not prepared to ignore the crimes committed by the United States of America. That is all. In the eyes of the Iranian nation those world states which side with the USA and join the US front, share the crimes of the US government. The Americans have tried to promote the idea that the word West means the USA. They say: Basically, the Western bloc is meaningless without the USA. They have tried to brainwash the world to accept this idea. Of course, this is not the case. Several years ago, when Imam Khomeyni - may God be satisfied with his deeds - was alive, I was talking to a European diplomat. I told him: Bearing in mind that we will never be prepared to compromise our political, economic and cultural independence, we still regard the West as a [trading] partner, on condition that the word West does not mean the USA. The Iranian nation will not forgive the USA and will not compromise with it. I told him: The USA wishes to pretend that the West means America, but we say this is not the case. However, if the Western states, the European countries, wish to confirm that the West without the USA is meaningless, then the Iranian nation would not mind abandoning the West as a trading and political partner. It does not matter at all. It is not as if the Iranian nation needs to maintain ties with a certain country or with a group of states. Of course, all countries of the world benefit from establishing links with one another. We are not going to discuss this issue here. But if anyone were to imagine that the Iranian nation or the government of the Islamic Republic of Iran is desperate to maintain ties with a group of countries [EU], he would be making a grave mistake. We would like to repeat our words today. We do not look at the world's countries in the same light. We view in different way those states which have treated the Iranian nation badly, while we respect those which have maintained healthy relations in various fields. [Break in transmission for one minute 30 seconds] Those who try to insinuate that the Iranian nation, or the government of the Islamic Republic of Iran, is seeking to invade this or that country or [cross] this or that geographical border, should stop making such claims. The Iranian nation and the government of the Islamic Republic of Iran have thousands of great obligations to perform to construct and develop their country, which stop them from committing such acts. Today, God be praised, the caravan of science and civilization, the Islamic civilization which can serve the people, is on its way in this country. My dear young people, dear Basijis, dear faithful young people, God's verses have enlightened your hearts. You have accepted, understood those verses and are carrying them out. The future belongs to you. You have the road open to you. You should prepare yourselves on all fronts, in all arenas. Of course all should know that if a nation like yours treads successfully the same path, with God's blessing, then other nations will [have the opportunity to] learn from that nation. That is what makes the [world] arrogance want wholeheartedly to take violent and hostile measures against the Iranian nation. We should be ready to confront the enemy which is ready to take any violent action, if it can, against the Iranian nation... The Germans who accuse the Islamic Republic of not caring for people's lives - this very unjust, spiteful and unfair accusation - the least we can say about them is that right under their [German officials] noses, German companies equipped the Ba'thist regime with the most dangerous and criminal chemical weapons. That is the least we can say about them [German officials], if, of course, we omit to mention that they themselves were involved. If we are speaking of enmity towards people's lives, what worse could one do than provide the Iraqi regime with chemical weapons and nerve [gases]? Even war has its own rules and regulations. War is something violent and unpleasant, but it has its own laws. The most dastardly means were used by the aggressor Ba'thist regime against the Iranian nation and our youngsters. Repeatedly and for a long time they pounded Tehran and dozens of other cities with long-range missiles. On the fronts they used chemical weapons, not once, not twice, not for a month, or two months, but for many years. Perhaps for five or six years the Ba'thist regime used chemical weapons on the Iran-Iraq fronts. Who, but those countries that talk about human rights, gave them to them? Who else gave the Ba'thist regime those weapons? Today many things have become clear. The Westerners - those who are extremely hostile to the Iranian nation and the Islamic Republic - have for various reasons admitted it. In fact we should say that God Almighty slapped them on the back of the head and forced them to do it. They have written it in their books, in their articles. German companies, most of which would not have done it without the permission of the German government, sold those chemical weapons, those deadly substances, to the Iraqis. Why did they sell them? Did they not know that they would be used on the battlefields? Where do they use mustard gas? Where is a person who buys deadly chemical weapons going to use them? Is he going to go home and inhale them? Of course he is going to use them on the battlefields. Those same gentlemen who have accused the Islamic Republic of being careless with human lives, were they not ashamed of themselves? Did they not fear the God they believe in? Did they not consider human conscience? They sold them [chemical weapons] in large quantities to the Ba'thist regime, and it came and used them on the borders, on the battlefields, right in front of them. Then we sent the victims abroad for treatment. Where to? To Germany. Many of our chemical victims went and received treatment in the hands of the same people who had dispensed the chemical weapons. Do they have a conscience? Do they respect human values, human lives? Are they not ashamed to claim all that? My dear ones, such animosity towards the Islamic Republic, such unfairness, such prejudice, are all because the Iranian nation has chosen the path of independence, under the rule of divine law, and because it is not prepared to kneel before them and show weakness. And that is how the enemy is. Against such enemies one should be equipped, one should be prepared. And you have brought about that preparedness. God willing, the land exercises of these pious forces will be held here and in other areas tomorrow, as stated by our dear brothers in the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps... Peace and God's mercy be upon you.

Imam Khamene'i 's message on the occasion of Hajj, 1417 / 08.04.1997

In the Name of Allah the All Beneficent, the Most Merciful.

 All praise belong to Allah the Lord of all beings and may blessings and peace be upon Muhammed, our Master, and his immaculate Progeny God, the All Wise, has said,

" And remember when we made the House a place of homecoming for the people and sanctuary (declaring) ; Take the venue of prayer from the station of Abraham. And we charged Abraham and Ismail (saying): Purify My House from those who circle it, for those who stay there in confinement and those who bow and prostrate." (2:125)

These days yet again the House of God is a host to mighty caravan of eager and enthusiastic hearts which have gathered around the Kaaba of hope from all over the world. Of the millions who shelter under the sincere servitude of the One Lord, cherish a feeling of solidarity and belonging to a unified society. Of the eyes, which are full of tears of rose water that washes the ground on which, the Prophet (pbuh), his Progeny (pbut), Awliya of God (pbut), worriers and the illustrious sons of Islam have walked. Of the souls that receive light and purity from the spiritual effulgence of the sacred Bayt Allah and the shrine of Muhammed al Mustafa (pbuh) and on his Progeny. Of the hands raised in supplication, sending forth swarms of plea and request towards the court of the One Who is without needs and of the concerned who seek the cure at the Healer’s door from the chronic ailments of the Muslim world. There they find fellow sufferers and sympathisers from every race, colour and language from every part of the world. Those who having felt weak and lonely, now find power and majesty in that place.

Yes these are the days of festival and homecoming for the Islamic world and the Muslim Ummah. It is fitting that throughout the world, Muslims and in particular the pilgrims of the Sacred House of Allah should devote these hours and moments to worship a contemplation. Those who have been blessed with this precious opportunity to perform Hajj and visit the Prophet’s shrine this year, may return to their home with hands full of Gods blessings and Divine Wisdom. Or even with renewed determination and resolve about one’s own future and that of the Islamic Ummah. Among the religious obligatory duties of Muslims, Hajj is that biggest duty which brings together both the individual and social components.

In the individual aspect, the aim is of self-purification and acquiring the Inner Light and purity. Furthermore, being detached from all irrelevant materialistic attractions by retreating into the solitude of one’s spiritual self and intimacy with God the Exalted through consistent remembrance and recourse in Him with total subservience. So much so that man may be able to find that divine straight Path which leads to perfection and wonder around in it.

In this area, the opportunities as well as test are so numerous that if one passes through them with caution and care, then undoubtedly it would be an invaluable achievement. The opportunities provided by Ihram and Talbiyah, by Tawaf and Salaat, by Sa’y and Harwalah, by the stay in Srafat and Mash’ar, by Ramy and the sacrifice and by the remembrance of God, altogether produces an environment loaded with spirit and life in all these stages. All these opportunities can provide an individual with a short course in religious discipline and practice in self-restrain (Zuhr), forbearance, gentleness and other acceptable virtues.

Within the social aspect, Hajj is unique among all the Islamic obligations. This is because it is the manifestation of the prestige, power and the solidarity of the Islamic Ummah. No other religious duty teaches every single Muslim about the affairs of the Islamic Ummah and the Muslim world. Nor do they bring every single Muslim morally and truly together into a collective power, prestige and unity. To remove this aspect of Hajj amounts to depriving the Muslims of the spring of self-respect for the Muslims which cannot be derived as through other means.

National strength is the key to all forms of success for every society and it is necessary in attaining a complete natural life. ‘National power’ means that the society and country should possess ethical and scientific qualities along with material resources, a sound political system and a general will and determination. Its a fact that if a powerful society is devoid of proper guidance, supervision and implementation of justice then that very material resources and science will lead it towards self destruction. Its will and morality gets wasted and is directed onto a course of degeneration. This is what we observe today in the case of United States and some other countries. However due to the lack of these capabilities and factors of power, countries become readily prone to the evils of moral and political decay. Thereby depriving nations of the present and the Hereafter and all that of science and morality. That is why the political and social teachings of Islam are all orientated towards attainment of power and leadership in moral, scientific, political, spiritual and material spheres by Islamic nations. Furthermore, all national leaders, who are alert, attempt to employ every resources and opportunity to make their nations powerful.

The huge Islamic nation, despite of its number and resources, lacks the power and prestige on the international arena. How can it be possible for it to obtain power and prestige that it rightfully deserves? Every single Muslims and in particular the rulers and statements of Islamic countries and the Muslim ‘Ulama, intellectuals and personalities must keep this question in their minds and try to find an answer for it.

Today the largest part of the world’s oil resources, which, without any exaggeration, forms the bloodline of the present world civilisation, exists in Muslim countries. World’s most sensitive strategic points are under the control of Muslims. A major part of mineral resources needed by the world for its present and future lies in these countries. One-fifth of the whole population belongs to them. The biggest markets for the products of the countries, which impose their hegemony upon Muslims, are in their hands. Their rich and original culture, sciences and teachings taught the West how to take those first steps in acquiring the present peak, which exists in the world’s scientific achievements. This provided the Western culture with a true existence. In spite of it all, today, on the international arena and in the general political process, Muslims do not have any say in decision making on major world issues and in defining the system of international relations. Worst still, unfortunately, many Islamic countries are subservient in planning their national policies to one or several imperialist powers because their governments are weak puppets and their nations are victims of repression and inferiority complexes. While their ‘ullama and intellectuals are subjected to fear, indifference and love for comfort. As a result, their resources go to a waste and their political affairs are directed by the imperialist powers. The great Islamic Ummah, which should employ all its potentials to realise its power and prestige, is deprived of so much of the leverage of its population and resource. These are in turn used against Islam and the Muslims by the enemies.

It is observed that the present predicaments of the Islamic world and the tragic events make life a bitter burden for millions of Muslims in different parts of the world. The unfortunate tragedy of Palestine has no parallel in present day history. The historical catastrophe of Muslims in the Balkans, the plight of Kashmir and Afghanistan, the explosive situation in the Persian Gulf, the state of Muslim minorities in some European countries are all eloquent testimonies to this bitter fact.

In recent weeks the Islamic world has been a witness to two consecutive vetoes by the United States government of the condemnation of Zionist regimes by UN security Council for the destruction of Muslim homes in the eastern quarters of Baytul Muqaddas. This is the same United States, which derives a large part of its political and financial strength from the existence of Muslim Arab countries. The governments of these countries make open advances of friendship and respect towards her and offer her their wealth and even parts of their territories. Why is it that in return for these friendly terms, the United States is not ready, even for once, to heed to their wishes on the issue of Palestine? Without doubt, no Arab and Muslim statesman can remain indifferent or fail to be enraged by the recent aggression of the Zionist regime. These replicate the continuous crimes of that regime which had been perpetrated throughout the last fifty years and which have even violates the terms of the so-called peace agreement of recent years. Why does the long standing friendship and loyalty of Arab statesmen towards the United States fail to make the slightest impact on the daily escalating US support of the usurper regime? It’s a fact that the present government of more subservient to the Zionist that was the preceding government, but when if ever, has a successive US governments considered their Arab friends equal to their Zionist sibling or taken even once, any measures that might displease the Zionist usurpers?

There are many lamentable issues involved in this matter. The tale of the neglect and on occasion’s absolute treachery by insiders and the ultimate arrogance and obscenity by outsiders and enemies is not something, which can be told in this belief discourse. What I will say is that the enemy’s wrongdoing is due to the lack of enthusiasm of our front line in making full use of all its power and potentials and employing the capabilities its population and resources to encounter the enemies. The greatest reserve of the Islamic world is the huge Islamic ummah and the Muslim nations. Its thunderous protest arising from its unity, concord, mutual understanding coupled with the intellectual potentials, manpower and God given resources can deafen the ears of any imperialist power and send tremors into the hearts and compell it into submission.

Hajj highlights a manifestation and an example of this great and inexhaustible reserve before our eyes. It is here that the real significance of the declaration of bara’ah (with Mushrikeen) in Hajj becomes clear and that is how the collective cry of Muslims in declaring Bara’ah with the Mushrikeen breathes life into Hajj and gives it meaning and content.

Now, how can any Muslim have any doubt about the importance of the words of wisdom which declare, "A Hajj without the Bara’ar is no Hajj."

The Muslim nations should know that if they are united God shall be with them and God is more powerful than any potent phenomena in the material world. Muslim governments should know that their people are their strongest bastion in confrontation with aggressive, greedy and merciless predatory alien powers. If the powers are given ground and relied upon, and if they are treated with honesty and sincerity, then the government will come to enjoy power. Such that they would not need to be afraid of any enemy in battle nor stand in need of any alien power in public life and development.

It is with the blessing of this harmony that the government and the people of Iran have, trusting God, stood their ground against the arm twisting tactics of the United States, unshaken by their repeated threats. Confident of their rightful stance, they feel so strong that they see their future as bright, their path as clear and find their hearts to be full of confidence and hope, despite the pressures that are brought upon them on all sides by imperial stooges.

Dear brothers and sisters from all over the world! Utilise the precious opportunity provided by the great concourse of Hajj and strengthen the bonds of love and understanding of yourselves. Get acquainted with the destiny of one another and learn from each other’s experience. Learn the secrets of the steadfastness and fortitude of the Islamic Republic and the great Iranian people.

Proclaim loudly during Hajj your unity and solidarity. Declare vigorously your animosity to arrogance, injustice and hypocrisy. Summon your ‘ullama, intellectuals and political and renounced personalities to exchange views. Show your support for the oppressed people of Palestine and make the enemies hear your demands concerning the problems of Palestine.

Contrary to the biased propaganda of the enemies, the people of Iran consider Hajj a high platform for the growth of awakening of the Muslim Ummah. The seek to utilise their presence for the benefit of the whole Muslim world not merely their own interests. The Iranian people possess an experience that can be greatly valuable for all Islamic countries. With the blessing of the sovereignty of Islam this great nation has been able to recover and keep its political, economical and cultural independence. That which had been totally lost during the era of Taghut. Thereby revealing the greatness and glory of Islam in encountering global issues. She has successfully defended her frontiers against several years of aggression carried out by military, financial and psychological means in the hands of the enemies of Islam. After eight years of war she has managed to rebuild herself and thereby displayed the miracle of the revolution in rebuilding the country’s infrastructure. She has also succeeded in obtaining a high and prestigious position on the international arena. She has elected several consecutive governments to administer affairs of the country within the spheres of scientific, research, industrial and agricultural developments. This has made freat `dvancements hn the country’s development.

In foreign policy, Iran has boldly defended the position she considers right. The issue of Palestine is considered in it as the most important problem in the Islamic world despite the wishes of United States and the Zionists to try and cast it into oblivion. She has used every opportunity to keep this issue constantly alive every opportunity is taken in assisting the oppressed Bosnian people and always there is a helping hand for Muslim nations who are facing ordeals. These policies are pursued and firmness Is demonstrated despite the daily escalation nf pressure from imperialists and constant treats from America. This is `n experience that is valuable for all Muslim nations and states.

In all sincerity, I extend my hand of friendship towards all Muslim states and welcome their co-operation and mutual understanding in solving the problems of the Islamic world. It is my humble advice to all Muslim nations that they should realise the relevance of yourself and Islam and the luminous precepts of the Quran.

The great lessons taught to us by our respected Imam, the late Imam Khomeini, May God be pleased with him, was that of returning to one’s origins and returning to Islam. Thereby realising our own importance and that of our enormous spiritual reserves. The Iranian people have found the path of felicity by putting this lesson into practice. They have covered several stages of this path and have continued to march ahead. There is no other path of prosperity for other nations except this one.

If this was to happen then the usurper Zionist regime will not be able to resist the power of the Islamic Ummah. Likewise, the United States would not dare anymore consider the destiny of the people of Palestine as a joke and make a laughing stock of the Arab states.

Should this happen, the Arab states will not find themselves compelled, contrary to justice and fact, to disregard the people of Palestine or consider the Palestinian problem as being irrelevant. Thereby allowing the Zionist access to Arab societies by establishing political and economic relations with the usurper and aggressor regime and lifting the siege which could so easily strangle the Zionist regime in the course of time.

We have no doubt that in the very near future with the sacrifice and awareness of the Muslim world, the people of Palestine will ultimately recover their usurped rights. They will expel the alien aggressors and oppressors from their homeland. However, it will be the will and the determination of the Muslim states and nations, with the grace of God that would expedite this process and lessen the ordeals.

In concluding, I would like to invite all the dear pilgrims to make full use of this precious opportunity of Hajj for their personal spiritual development and to build their collective future. I hope that they will remember all the Muslims of the world in their prayers and particularly those who are victims of bitter events and ordeals of life. Furthermore, please do not forget me, a mere servant of God in your supplications.

May peace and God’s blessings be upon the Imam of the time and may Allah, the Exalted, expedite in his appearance by removing all obstacles.

WAS SALAMU ‘ALAYKUM WA RAHMATULLAHI WA BARAKATUH.

Ali al Husayni al Khamene’I

2nd Dhu al Hijjah 1417, 21 Farvardeen 1376, 08 April 1997

Sermon of Hazarath Imam Khamein'i at Mashad (23.3.1997)

(the exact date could not been found, it must be between 20 and 25 March 1997)

In the name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate... I want to mention something to you dear people. Regarding world issues, the Islamic Republic of Iran believes in international cooperation. We believe that if the benevolent people of the world were united, world affairs would be reformed. We believe this. But this is very difficult to achieve. Therefore, we have to do two different things in the world. First, our main duty is international cooperation, joint work and cooperation with other nations and governments. This is our main duty on the international scene. Secondly, there is an emergency responsibility and that is to fight. Yes, we are forced to fight against the enemies of this country in the world. I wish our nation had no enemies and we did not have to fight. But the nation has stubborn, obstinate, wicked, lowly, deceiving, deceitful and dangerous enemies. We have to fight them. In this international struggle, we have two types of enemies. First, there are the main enemies who are the major problem. We have to fight them. But we don't fight the lesser enemies. We try to reach an understanding with them and to point out their mistakes and to change their minds about their enmity. This is how we deal with the lesser enemies. Even sometimes it is not possible to call them an enemy. The problem is with the main enemy. Who are the main enemies of the Islamic republic in the world? Today, the main enemies are Zionism and world arrogance.

People chant in support

The main problem is the enmity of the Zionists and the world arrogance against Islam, the system of the Islamic republic and the Iranian nation. A proper translation for Zionism today is the aggressive, arrogant, rebellious and bullying government of the United States. They make up the main arrogant powers in the world today. The story of the arrogant powers is bitter. It is a bitter story for all nations. World arrogance means the presence of a power in the world which is inconsiderate of the interests of nations, the demands of human beings and the values of the human race. It values only one thing and that is its own interests which it follows with a spirit of arrogance, expansionism and bullying. Much like the highway bandits who think of nothing but their own interests and even then use a language of violence, force, cruelty and coercion. This is the state of affairs with America. But of course, more evil than America is the Zionist government in the occupied Palestine. Why? Because the American government is a government based on a nation. But the usurping Zionist government is not a nation. The nation which belongs to those territories is homeless today. From the very first day, Israel was created through injustice and murder. It was created through deceit and lies. With British support a group of thugs and aggressors came to the land of Palestine and forced out its population. Even today they and their children, millions of them, more than a million people, continue to live in tents and in the condition of camps. In tents or something similar. In hovels outside Palestine. The Palestinian people have to live outside Palestine in hovels and camps while their homes and motherland is used by people who have gone there from Europe, Australia, America, Asia and Africa to create a false nation and to live there under this pretext. They have also created a government. But, fundamentally speaking, such a nation never existed and never had an identity. The crime committed by the Islamic republic is that it states this fact. Contrary to other governments, which are either afraid of the US or enticed by it, and overlook this just observation and conceal it, the Islamic republic states it openly. It says that justice is justice, injustice is injustice. We cannot deny that there was a Palestinian nation and that it is homeless today. We cannot deny that the land of Palestine has been usurped from the Palestinian people and not even in a superficially polite or correct way; no, by murder, by killing, by deceit, by lies, by force, by bloodletting, by massacre. The Israeli government came into existence through massacres. The Israeli government came into existence through treachery, deceit and bloodletting. From the start, the Israeli government came into existence by trampling upon human values. The rights of a nation were sacrificed under the feet of the Zionist invaders who entered occupied Palestine. Throughout the 50 or so years of this fake government's life, there has been constant suppression, constant murder, constant lies, deceit, aggression, attacks against human beings, against the innocent. This has been the source of the survival and continued existence of the government of Israel. This is what Israel is. This being the case, the US president - it is truly amazing, he does not seem to feel any shame - stands before international public opinion, in broad daylight, and says in a loud voice: We want to cooperate with Israel to prevent terrorism. One is filled with amazement. What can one call this? Is this negligence? Is this unfairness? Is this arrogance and bullying? What does this mean? An Israel which came into existence on the basis of terrorism - today, too, the most vicious and most dangerous terrorists in the world are those very same people who are in positions of power in the wronged, occupied country of Palestine. You want to cooperate with them in order to fight terrorism? The terrorists? Which terrorists? The people who have been driven out of their homeland, have reached the end of their tether after years of pressure, have brought a fist out of their sleeves, are shouting out? Are these terrorists? We state these facts. We do not conceal these facts. We consider it a sin to hide these clearest of facts simply in order to please the United States.

People chant "Death to America"

Many people throughout the world, people who are in commercial and political contact with us, tell us confidentially, tell our envoys and our people, they say: The reason for the enmity of the United States against you has to do with precisely this issue of the Middle East. They mean the issue of Israel... They tell us, gentlemen, this pressure by the US, this economic embargo, this hostile and wicked propaganda from elements within the American legislature and within the American judiciary against the Islamic republic, all have to do with the issue of Israel. They say, why do you not accept the Middle East peace? Why do you say, this is not peace? This is compromise between a lamb and a wolf. Why do you say this? Why do you not sign the death sentence of the Palestinians as others have done? This is what they want from us. This is what it is about. So, today, at the head of this nation's foreign enemies, with which we have our main foreign political battle in the world, is the corrupt, usurper, evil, Zionist regime ruling over occupied Palestine, and behind it, the regime of the United States of America. The US, with that vast size, with its scientific advances, a big country, a big nation, has become an instrument manipulated by the Zionists; like a giant whose leash is in the hands of a dog. The dog takes him wherever it likes. They used to show some films like this once. A dog takes a giant wherever it likes. Now, the US administration, with its enormous size, with its vast wealth, with its past history, with the political, economic and military importance - that it believes it enjoys in the world - has become a toy in the hands of the Zionists and the Israeli government. When the US president adopts a decision against the Islamic republic, he goes to a gathering of American Zionists and presents his report about it there; that is how it becomes known to the world. This is a disgrace for the American nation. This is a disgrace. These are the main enemies. The basis of the problem, dear people of Iran, is what I have to say after experiencing seventeen years of the pride- inspiring victory of the Islamic republic system, and after summing up the views of our departed Imam Khomeyni and those of the people. What I have to say is brief: If any government, community, nation or individual in the world imagines that the Iranian nation could be influenced through force and threats, they are greatly mistaken. People chant God is great, Khamene'i is the leader, death to America, death to Israel This nation which put up a brave resistance during the imposed war and which stood steadfast against the threats and wicked deeds of arrogance and enemies for seventeen years since the revolution , has at least proved to all the world that it is not a nation which can be forced and threatened to take this or that path. Look at these mothers! Look at these lion- hearted women who dispatched their offspring to the battlefronts, for the sake of God - just like people sending their sons to their weddings -and not even a frown crossed their brows. Look at them. Look at this resistant nation... This nation has been repeatedly threatened in the course of these seventeen years, by different governments. It has even been threatened with breaks in relations over different incidents when the gentlemen in charge of European countries have collectively withdrawn their ambassadors from Iran, believing this would cause the sky to fall in and the world to turn upside down. But nothing changed at all . No doubt European governments remember. We hope they do; we hope they will not make mistakes. There was a day when all European ambassadors left Tehran, meaning that they had suspended relations with us. The Islamic republic said goodbye to them. After a while, they realized that the Islamic republic does not appear to be needing them. And thank God, it really did not need them. So, one after another the ambassadors returned. It has always been like this. What is important is that this nation should appreciate itself. What is important is that the country's officials should appreciate this nation - and they do. Anyone working in any sector should know that this nation is a great, powerful, faithful and invincible nation so long as it preserves unity of expression and reliance on God. So long as you do this, there is no power in the world that could overcome and defeat you. People chant slogans in support

In the Name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate

Friday Prayer Sermon in Tehran 21st Ramadhan
(1417 / 31.01.1997) by Imam Khamene'i

Praise be to God, the Lord of the worlds. Praise be to God to whom all praise is due for all His bounties. Praise be to God for His Clemency and His Knowledge, and for His forgiveness and His power;. Praise be to God for His great patience while in wrath. He has power over what He wills. We praise Him whose help we seek, whose forgiveness we ask and in whom we put our trust. May our benedictions and peace be upon His sincere and noble friend and the best of His creatures, the guardian of His secrets, His messenger, the herald of His mercy, the one who warns of His punishment, our Master, Prophet and beloved, Abu al-Qasim al- Mustafa Muhammad. Furthermore, upon his household, the most immaculate, purest and select, the infallible rightly guided leaders, especially the remnant of God on earth and may salutation be upon the divinely inspired Imams of Muslims and the protectors of the oppressed. O servants of God, I advise you to have fear of God so as to seek worldly pleasures and not to be allured by the world.

On this great day, I advise all the dear praying brothers and sisters to be God fearing, devout and chaste, because these days belong to the Lord of the pious of the world. The greatest lesson of these days is piety (taqwa). We should be careful about our work, conduct, speech, association and about what occurs in our minds, that is, our innate state, and try not to deviate from the divine path. This is the meaning of piety (taqwa), and perhaps one of the main goals of fasting in Ramadhan is to realise piety within us and to transform ourselves into pious human beings.

Today is Friday and it is one of those great days similar to which one can hardly find. It coincides with twenty-first of Ramadhan, marking the Day of Blessing (Qadr), which is as important as the Night of Blessings, and the day of the martyrdom of the Commander of the Faithful (pbuh), which provides us with one of the bitter reminders of historical Islamic events. It also coincides with the twelfth of Bahman, which is the inception of the sovereignty of Islam over this country (Iran) and the revival of Islam world wide. That is, the return of the Imam to Iran to administer truth and justice. In other words, several important occasions have occurred simultaneously , which we should appreciate.

In the first sermon, initially I wish to express my devotion to Imam Ali, the Commander of the Faithful (pbuh). Secondly, I would like to mention some important points concerning the occasion of the Days of Blessing (Qadr), with regards to our psychologically and spiritually problems. This is that which returns one to God, improves one's inner dimension and removes and purifies the heart from sins. On the first Friday of Ramadhan, I mentioned some points on seeking God's forgiveness. In the second sermon, I will speak a little about the problems of the Revolution and will refer to an essential point concerning the Revolution.

In looking at the life of the Commander of the Faithful (pbuh) we can imagine an ocean whose dimensions cannot possible be comprehended by people both at a single glance and also through a long study. If you approach the ocean from one direction, you will observe a majestic world, various seas, abysmal depths, various aquatic creatures and various forms of life and sea wonders. Apart from this, if you were to approach it from another direction, you will observe the same wonders. This analogy is insufficient in explaining the personality of the Commander of the Faithful (peace be upon him). If you look into this personality in any respect, without exaggerating, you will find that it is something that is wonderful. In retrospect, it can be said that it is due to the inability of a person who has studied the life of the Commander of the Faithful (pbuh) over the years to comprehend this wonderful state of Ali's (pbuh) character. This is understood to be the case even after using common perceptual faculties of mind, reason, memory and rationality.

Of course, the Commander of the Faithful (pbuh) is a small-scale model and a disciple of the Holy Prophet. However this very great personality, in spite of seeing himself humble before the Prophet and being himself a disciple of his, seems to us an exceptional hyman when we want to look upon him from the human point of view. We cannot imagine a human being with such greatness. The human faculties of perception, reason and mind (not to mention the TV camera which is much more insignificant than the human mind which is superior to any material instruments) are too insignificant in articulating personality of the Commander of the Faithful (pbuh) to those who have not acquired spiritual intuition and contemplation.

Today, I want to mention a point about the life of the Commander of the Faithful (pbuh) (peace be upon him). It is about a characteristic which I interpret as a balance in the personality of the Commander of the Faithful (pbuh). His personality possesses a wonderful balance. That is, the apparently opposite and inconsistent qualities are so beautifully combined together so much so that they create a wonderful combination. One cannot see anyone within whom such qualities brought together. Such qualities exist within the Commander of the Faithful (pbuh) which are quite opposite to each other.

Now, I will mention some of these opposite qualities that are present within For instance, mercy and gentleness are not in harmony with decisiveness and firmness. However, Amir al-Momineen possessed mercy and gentleness at the highest degree. Such a condition can hardly be found in ordinary people. For instance, those who help the poor and visit the oppressed families are many in number, but it is only the Commander of the Faithful (pbuh) who on the one hand does such things during his rule and power but does not do it temporarily, rather continuously. While on the other hand he is not content himself by rendering material aids but he also associates with and kindly treats blind people and small children and helps, respects and makes them happy. How many people like this can we find among those who are merciful and affectionate. Such is the Commander of the Faithful (pbuh) in terms of mercy and compassion.

He visits the house of a widow having small children, and in addition to preparing her oven, he bakes bread for her and feeds her children. He plays with the sad children so that they may smile, bows down and lets them mount on his back and be carried by him. In their shabby house, he amuses them so that the orphan children may laugh. Such is the mercy and compassion of the Commander of the Faithful (pbuh). With regards to this, a great man of that time said, "I saw Amir al-Momineen feeding honey to the poor and orphan children so often that I said silently; `I wished I were an orphan." He said that because he wished that he had been an orphan so as to enjoy such a favour of Ali. This is an example of the tenderness and compassion of Ali.

It is this Amir al Momineen who at the Battle of Nahrawan, when a number of deviant and bigoted individuals decided to overthrow the rule by false pretexts, the Commander of the Faithful (pbuh) confronted them and advised them but it was of no use. He then argued with them but that too was of no use to them. He then sent a mediator to them but this was also useless. He gave them financial assistance and promised to help them but this did not resolve the situation either. Finally, when he decides to fight them he again tried to advise them but this did not help. At this point it was necessary to show decisiveness. They were twelve thousand in number. Ali (pbuh) gave a banner to one of his companions and said, "Anyone who comes under this banner by the following day will be secure while I will fight with those who remain.." Out of the twelve thousand, eight thousand came under the flag and they were pardoned by the Commander of the Faithful (pbuh) regardless of their previous hostility, slander and conflict. When Ali (pbuh) found out that the remaining four thousand were determined to fight, he said to them, "If you are determined to fight, then not even ten of you will survive out of the four thousand." He started the battle. From the four thousand strong, only nine remained while the rest were killed. This is the same Ali (pbuh) who is like this because he sees the group as wicked and evil people acting like scorpions.

The word Khawarij (Kharijites) is not well translated. Unfortunately, it is seen that in speech, poetry, the film and so on, it is interpreted as religious conservatives. This is a wrong interpretation. Who is a religious conservative? During the time of the Commander of the Faithful (pbuh), there existed many who were self-willed. If you wish to know the Kharijites, I will give you examples of them of our time. You remember the Munafiqin (hypocritical)? They recited the Quranic verses and sermons from Nahjul Balagha, pretended to be religious and considered themselves more Islamic and revolutionary than others. In those days they planted bombs and killed all the members of a family consisting of adults, children and babies at the time of Iftar (breaking of fast) in Ramadhan. Why? Is it because they were supporters of the Imam and the Revolution. They unexpectedly planted bombs and killed a large number of innocent people in some city square. Through their bombing, the eighty-year-old ritual Friday prayer leader was martyred, who was an old pious and luminous man and a struggler in the cause of Allah. In a bombing, they also martyred about five other ritual Friday prayer leaders, being learned, distinguished, pious religious scholars. The actions they perpetrated were such that they were Khawarij. They killed Abd al-ibn Khabbab, cut open the abdomen of his pregnant wife and killed her foetus, who was only a few months old and crushed her brain. Why? Was it because they were followers of to Ali (pbuh). They must be removed and killed. They are the Khawarij.

You should know the Khawarij exactly. They were those who adhered to the apparent aspects of religion and the verses of the Quran. They memorised the Quran and Nahjul Balagha (In view of the fact that during that time the Quran played a dominant role and in later they held to whatever was in their interest and thereby kept their religious appearances). They apparently believed in certain aspects of religious tenets, but they opposed the essential elements of the religion and showed fanatical opposition to it. They pretended to be worshippers of God yet they were totally servants of Satan. You witnessed that the Munafiqin (hypocrites) once made such claims and strengthened their apparent religious state. When they deemed it necessary they struggled against the Revolution. Imam and the system of the Islamic Republic. They were prepared to work for America, the Zionists, Saddam and anybody else and be subservient to them . Such were the Khawarij. In those days the Commander of the Faithful (pbuh) (pbuh) stood firmly against them. This is that same Ali (pbuh).(Angry with the Kuffar and merciful within themselves)

You see how these two characteristics create beauty. Such a merciful and tender man who could not bear seeing an orphan child sad. He says that he will not leave unless he makes the child laugh. Then he stands against those deviant and wrongdoing people, who would sting any innocent person like a scorpion, and kills about four thousand within a few hours on a day. As for the companions of Ali (pbuh), less than ten , in fact five or six were martyred. Out of the four thousand in the opposite camp, less than ten, that is about nine remained alive. This is what is meant by a balance in personality.

Another example is his piety and authority of that respected person, which is something that is extremely unusual. What is meant by wara (piety)? That is, man should abstain from everything that is suspicious and implies opposition to religion. On the other hand, what is meant by authority? After all is it possible for a ruler to display piety in such a manner? Now that at present we are involved in it we can see how important these attributes are when they materialise in anybody. During government, one faces problems in the general sense, and executes laws which are of extreme benefit. However its possible that in this process a person may be treated unjustly somewhere. After all an officialis a human being so its possible he may violate a rule somewhere in this world or the country. How can it be possible for one to be pious in spite of all these uncontrollable surroundings? Thus, it appears so that the government is not consistent with piety. However, the Commander of the Faithful (pbuh) (pbuh) combined the highest degree of piety with the most powerful kind of government, which is quite an unusual thing.

He was frank with everybody. When he found a governor to be inefficient and incompetent, he removed him. Muhammmad ibn Abi Bakr was like a son to the Commander of the Faithful (pbuh) (pbuh) and he loved him like his own sons. He also looked upon Ali ibn Abi Talib (pbuh) as his father. He was the youngest son of Abu Bakr and a devoted disciple of the Commander of the Faithful (pbuh) and was brought up by Ali (pbuh). The Commander of the Faithful (pbuh) (pbuh) sent Muhammad ibn Abi Bakr to Egypt as a governor. Then, he wrote a letter saying to the effect that you are not sufficiently able for Egypt and therefore I replace you and put Malik-e-Ashtar in your place. Muhammad ibn Abi Bakr became annoyed as a human being in spite of having a lofty rank. However, the Commander of the Faithful (pbuh) (pbuh) paid no attention to this. Muhammad ibn Abi Bakr was a great personality who helped the Commander of the Faithful (pbuh) (pbuh) at the Battle of the Camel and during the allegiance. He was the son of Abu Bakr and the brother of A`ishah, the Mother of the Faithful. Although he was so important to the Commander of the Faithful (pbuh) (pbuh), he paid no heed to the annoyance of Muhammad ibn Abi Bakr. This is the meaning of piety, which is beneficial to anyone and any ruler during government. The Commander of the Faithful (pbuh) (pbuh) possessed supreme piety.

A poet called Najashi wrote poems for the Commander of the Faithful (pbuh) and against his enemies. One day in Ramadhan, he was passing through a lane when a corrupt man told him to spend the day with him. He said that he was going to mosque in order to, let's say, pray and recite the Quran. The man told him to attach no importance to the day of Ramadhan and spend the day with him and persuaded him by force. At last, the poet went to his house and started breaking his fast and drinking wine. He did not want to do that, but he got involved. When it was found out that they had drunk, the Commander of the Faithful (pbuh) said that each of them should be punished by being given eighty lashes for drinking wine and ten or twenty more lashes for committing that in Ramadhan. Najashi said, "I am a poet and an eulogise of your government. I fought against your enemies by way of words. So, you the intention to flog me? To say it in our own words, the Imam told him that irrespective of being dear and important to me, the divinely-ordained punishment will not be cancelled. His relatives appealed to the Imam saying, "He was a poet and flogging would be disgraceful for us and we would not regain our honour." Imam said, "This can never happen. I cannot stop the punishment from being applied." The man was laid down and flogged. Then, he escaped and disappeared overnight. He said, "Since in your government there is no due respect paid to poet, artists and the intellectuals like me, I must leave and go some where I might be valued and respected." He decided to go where he might be valued and appreciated. Thus, he approached Muawiyah, because he thought that Muawiyah would value and welcome him as a poet. It does not matter. When a person is so blinded by his feelings that he could not see the luminosity of Ali (pbuh), the disastrous result of such blindness is that he will approach Muawiyah and devote himself to him. The Commander of the Faithful (pbuh) (pbuh) knew that he would lose a man who was an important poet. The role of a poet was more important at that time than today, because there was no mass media such as TV and radio. It was the poets who spread ideas by composing poetry.

You see that how beautifully the piety of the Commander of the Faithful (pbuh) (pbuh) was combined with his powerful government. There is no such example in the world. We have not come across such a case in history anymore. The caliphs previous to the Commander of the Faithful (pbuh) (pbuh) were very decisive and in this context. When one looks at their history one comes across extraordinary acts on their part. However there is an amazing and incredible difference between the Commander of the Faithful (pbuh) (pbuh) and what has been observed before and after him to this day and cannot be mentioned or contemplated.

Another example is that of his power and him being treated unjustly. At his time, who was more powerful than the Commander of the Faithful (pbuh), whose bravery was extremely astonishing. Till the end of the life of the Commander of the Faithful (pbuh) (pbuh), nobody dared to claim that could stand against the bravery of Amir ul Momineen (pbuh). This very man, Ali (pbuh), was the most unjustly treated one at his time but rather, according to that which has been said, he may be the most unjustly treated human beings in Islamic history. Having power and being treated unjustly are such that they cannot be combined together. Usually, men of power are not opposed, but the Commander of the Faithful (pbuh) was treated unjustly.

Another example is his asceticism. The Commander of the Faithful (pbuh) is an ideal model of asceticism and lack of desire for the world. Perhaps, one of the most important subjects in the Nahj al-Balaghah is asceticism. During the twenty-five year period between the departure of the Prophet and his assuming government, the Commander of the Faithful (pbuh) himself was involved in developing fields for cultivation, making gardens, digging wells and watering fields out of his own property. What is surprising is that he did all these in the cause of God.

It is worth noting that the Commander of the Faithful (pbuh) had the largest income at his time. He is quoted saying, "If my alms are distributed among the Hashimites, it will suffice them." Such was the income of the Commander of the Faithful (pbuh) (pbuh). However, such a man with such a large income lived in the poorest manner, because he gave all ha had in the cause of God. Once he went into the ground and dug a well by himself. The narrator said, "I saw water gushing from the well like that from a throat of a camel and then started to flow. When the Commander of the Faithful (pbuh) (pbuh) came out of the well covered with mud, he sat by the side of it and asked for a piece of paper. He wrote on the paper, "This well has been entrusted by Ali Ibne Abi Talib (pbuh) to such and such a people." What you observe during the government of the Commander of the Faithful (pbuh) (pbuh) is the continuation of his personal life which also manifests itself in his rule likewise.

To distance oneself from the world is not contradiction to world development as ordained by God Almighty as a public duty. We can cultivate barren lands and gain wealth, but we should not tie ourselves to it and not be imprisoned by it. We should not be servants of capital, money and wealth and be overwhelmed by them unless one is able to dispose of it comfortable in the way of God. This is an Islamic balance and there are so many similar examples that it would take a long time to mention them now.

The justice of Ali ibn Abi Talib (pbuh) is another example. When we say that Ali ibn Abi Talib (pbuh) was just, it is initially understood by everybody that he established social justice in society. This is what justice is. Above all, justice is that very balance. "On justice are founded the heavens and the earth." It means the very balance in creation. This is the truth of the matter. Justice and truth are ultimately the same and have the same meaning and possess one and the same reality. The characteristics of life of the Commander of the Faithful (pbuh) embody justice and balance, and all the good qualities are properly and quite beautifully combined within him.

One of the other characteristics of the Commander of the Faithful (pbuh) is his seeking forgiveness of God about which I will mention some points at the end of this sermon. The Commander of the Faithful (pbuh)'s supplications, repentance and seeking God's forgiveness are very significant. A personality who is both a warrior and a politician and who ruled over the biggest countries in the world for five years. His territory of government can be estimated at as large as ten countries or so. In view of such an extensive territory of government, and in spite of being occupied in numerous activities, he was a great and perfect politician. The truth of the matter is that he administered the world and in fact, he ran a world. His political strategies, his fights at battlefields, his policies on administration and social affairs, his judgement among people and his attempts at safeguarding human rights in that society are all great achievements which will occupy all man's time. In such cases, those who are one sided may say, "Our worship and supplication are the same thing i.e. working in the cause of God and our work is for Allah." However, the Commander of the Faithful (pbuh) does not say this. He worked and he also worshipped. In some traditions it is said that the Commander of the Faithful (pbuh) often prayed one thousand rakat (units) day and night. However, I have not investigated this matter to ascertain if these traditions are reliable or not.

The supplications (Du'a) which you know about are the famous supplications of the Commander of the Faithful (pbuh). From his youth, the Commander of the Faithful (pbuh) was used to supplication, turning to God in repentance and even on those days, he was engaged. During the lifetime of the Prophet, he was also an active and revolutionary youth. and always busy not having any free time. Even when it was asked in a gathering, `Who worships most among the companions of the Prophet?" Abu Darda.said, "Ali." When he was asked how it could be so, he gave some examples and convinced all that Ali (pbuh) worshipped most. Ali (pbuh) had such a character both as a youth when he was about twenty-five years, and even during his caliphate.

There are various stories told of the worship of the Commander of the Faithful (pbuh). The Alid Leaf (al-Sahifat al-alawiyyah) as compiled by a group of Muslim scholars consist of the supplications recounted of the Commander of the Faithful (pbuh), one of which is the supplication of Kumayl ibn Ziyad (Du'd al-Kumayl), which we recite every Thursday evening. I once asked our late Imam (Imam Khumeini) that among the existing supplications which one he preferred most. After a pause, he said, "Two supplications: the supplication of Kumayl and Munajat al-Sha'baniyyah (Sha'baniyyah Communion)." It is probably that the Sh'abaniyah Munajat are also the words of the Commander of the Faithful (pbuh), because it is related that all the Shi'ite Imams communed with God through it. Moreover, the words and implications in Munajat Sha'baniyyash are similar to those in Du'a al-Kumayl. Du'a al-Kumayl is also a wonderful supplication. The supplication starts by seeking God's forgiveness and imploring him by ten of His Qualities. You will see that the repentance which I referred to a few weeks age is this repentance. That is, it starts with `Oh God, I ask You by Your Mercy which encompasses all things'. Then an oath is taken by means of the ten attributes of God like His Blessings, His Strength, etc. After the oath is taken on these ten attributes of God, it goes on to say, "Oh God, forgive me those sins which tear apart safeguards! Oh God, forgive me those sins which draw down adversities! Oh God, forgive me those sins which alter blessings! Oh God, forgive me those sins which hold back supplication'. In this supplication, the Commander of the Faithful (pbuh) mentions five kinds of sins. The sins which hold back supplication, the sins which bring down calamity, and so on. That is sins which generate wrath, etc. The supplication starts and ends by asking God's forgiveness. The main theme of this supplication is sincerely seeking God's forgiveness. It is in this way that the Commander of the Faithful (pbuh) seeks God's forgiveness.

My dears, the highest and most perfect life is that in which man seeks God's satisfaction and distances himself from the self-godliness and carnal desires which make the individual his own prisoner. Such is a perfect and upright human being. A materialistic human, who is imprisoned in intolerable passion, desires of the soul and sentiments, is an abject human being regardless of how great or high-ranking he appears to be. The Presidents of one the biggest and richest countries who cannot fight against his carnal desires and who are slaves are really weak human beings. However, a poor man who can overcome his carnal desires and traverses the straight path-the path of human perfection as ordained by God-is a great man.

Seeking God's forgiveness saves us from inferiority. It frees us from the chains and cleanses the cloak covering our luminous hearts (which Allah subhanawatallah has given you).The heart (qalb) means life, spirit or that which is man's real identity which in itself is of luminous nature. Every human being is luminous in essence, even he/she who does not commune with or has no knowledge of God is in essence luminous. However, as a result of lack of knowledge of God, committing sins and fulfilling one's carnal desires, the spirit has become opaque. Seeking God's forgiveness removes opacity and gives rise to luminosity.

The month of Ramadhan is the time for seeking forgiveness of God, supplication and turning to God in repentance. Two nights, i. e., the nineteenth and twenty-first ones, which could be taken as the Nights of Blessing (Qadr) have passed, but the twenty-third one is ahead of us so recognise its relevance. From the beginning of the twenty-third night, that is from the time of sunset, the Divine Peace, `Peace! It is till the rising of the dawn.'( Quran XCVII, 5), starts until the dawn call to prayer. These few hours in between consist of Divine Peace, Godly Security and Mercy that encompass the whole creation. That night is a wonderful night. It is better than a thousand months. That is to say, it is better than a thousand months when compared to the life span full of blessings and mercy. This one night is better than a thousand nights and it is considered extremely important so show respect to this night. Spend it supplicating and pondering on the signs of creation, man's destiny, the duties as ordained by God upon man and not being dependent on the material life. Whatever we see is merely a gateway to that world which opens every moment a breath is taken.

My dears, once the last breath is taken, we enter another world. We should prepare ourselves for that day. The purpose for all this world, wealth, all the potentialities placed within us by God, whatever is willed by God for man, such as just government, comfortable life and so on, is to give man an opportunity to prepare himself for the life in the other world. Prepare yourself, get close to God, have Commune with Him, invoke Him and seek His forgiveness. Those who turn to God in such a way at that time, purify their hearts, abandon sins and decide to do good deeds are so great beings that they can stand against any difficulties in this world. An example of it is our great Imam (Imam Khomeini). The believers of our own society can be taken as other examples. Each of the indefatigable and believing youth, men and women, those who were martyred, those who are war invalids, those who were prisoners of war, those who endured being away from their beloved children, and those who endured hardships at battlefronts. Today, your are escorting thousand martyrs from such people to their final resting-place. Each of them is an outstanding example and how proper it will be if every nation has such an example to glorify and follow. It is also worthwhile to respect them and consider them as ideal examples.

In a brief sentence I would like to remember the twenty-first day of the month of Ramadhan, in the year 40 A. H, which is the day of the martyrdom of the Commander of the Faithful (pbuh). On this day, Kufa had a tragic scene. Remember the moment when you all heard in Tehran that our great Imam had passed away. You noticed how bewildering, shocking and heartbreaking it was. Of course, in view of the illness of the Imam, some were worried and expected such an event. However, as for the Commander of the Faithful (pbuh), just a few hours prior to his martyrdom, he was waking up those sleeping in mosque, his call to prayer might have resounded in the air of Kufa, and his spiritual voice, that is his pearl words overwhelming the mosque of Kufa may have been heard by the people till the last day. Up to the previous night his voice was heard. The people were in their houses when they suddenly heard a loud voice saying sadly, "Verily, the pillars of right guidance have fallen down; Ali al-Murtada was murdered." Thus, the people of Kufa and then all the world of Islam heard about the martyrdom of the Commander of the Faithful (pbuh).

In fact on numerous occasions the Commander of the Faithful (pbuh) had announced his martyrdom again and again, and almost all his relatives knew about it. During the lifetime of the Prophet, at the time of the Battle of the Ditch (Khandaq), Ali (pbuh), who was a twenty-year-old youth or so fought against and killed Amr ibn Abd Wudd, who was a famous Arab hero and who was honoured by the Quraish and the non-Quraish. They were certain that he would put an end to the Prophet and the Muslims. He returned victoriously but in this fight, Ali's forehead was wounded and blood ran down it. He came to the Prophet. The Prophet looked at him and was saddened by his bloody face. This fighting, sacrificial and beloved youth performed such a feat of valour and returned with a bloody forehead. The Prophet said, "Dear Ali (pbuh) sit down" and he sat. The Prophet asked for a piece of cloth, and he himself probably have cleaned the blood with it. Then he told the two women responsible for wound dressing to dress Ali's wound well. After these orders, suddenly, something occurred to the Prophet, and his eyes might have been filled with tears. He looked at Ali and said to him, "Today I have bandaged your wounds but where shall I be when this (your beard) is coloured by this (blood)." Therefore, all expected such a day, and Imam Ali (PUH) announced it again and again.

Muhammad ibn Shahab Zahari relates: `The Commander of the Faithful (pbuh) was following his murderer.' In other words, it was as if he was impatiently awaiting his murderer to fulfil his duty. He felt the time for the occurrence of his murder moving on slowly. He repeatedly said, "When will this ( his beard) be coloured by this ( blood)?" He was waiting and those close to him also knew of it. However, in spite of being announced before its occurrence, the event had such a great relevance that it upset all. After having been struck, he was brought home. According to a tradition (riwayah) in the Bihar al-Anwar, it is related that Ali (PUH) on occasion he would be unconscious and at another he would regain it. Once after opening his eyes and finding his daughter sitting before him and weeping, he said, `Do not grieve me; O Umm Kulthum, because you will not weep if you see what I see. Verily, the angels in the seven heavens are queuing with the prophets saying O Ali come to us, for what is before you is better for you than what you are in.'

O Lord, in the name of Muhammad and his household do not turn down those who have prayed to you for the fulfilment of their needs on these days and nights, and who will keep praying to you for their needs on the Twenty-third night and the following days. O Lord, satisfy in full the needs of the Iranian nation, the needs of those who seek your forgiveness and who remember you. O Lord, remove the people's difficulties. O Lord, let our country, society, and the people follow Ali (PUH) with all their hearts and make us be among the true followers of the Commander of the Faithful (pbuh) and grant us insight into the sublimity of the status of the Commander of the Faithful (pbuh). O Lord, forgive us our sins. O Lord, by your grace and munificence, forgive us those sins and errors which hold back your mercy. O Lord, in the name of Muhammad and his household let Waly-i Asr ( the Imam of the ``Period'') be happy with us and let us enjoy his prayer. O Lord, in the name of Muhammad and his household, hasten his appearance and make us be among his army during his occultation and appearance. O Lord, let us not die but as martyrs in your cause. O Lord, in the name of Muhammad and his household, make Islam and Muslims victorious all over the world. O Lord, make the Iranian nation honoured and victorious on all scenes and arenas and let the enemies of the Iranian nation be humiliated, suppressed and distracted. O Lord, let the enemies of Islam and Muslims in any guise and form be cursed and forsaken on your part. O Lord, let the hearts of the Islamic community and the Muslims of all the countries in the world be brought close to the unifying principle of Islam. O Lord, let the divisive hands be cut off. O Lord, let the deceased and our parents enjoy your forgiveness. O Lord, let the pure heart of our great Imam be associated with the pure spirits of the prophets and the Imams. Let him be associated with the Commander of the Faithful (pbuh). Let the pure spirits of the martyrs be joined with those of the martyrs of Karbala and those of early Islam.

In the Name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate When comes the help of God, and victory, And thou dose see the people enter God's religion in crowds, Celebrate the Praises of thy Lord, and pray for His Forgiveness: For He is Oft-Returning (in Grace and Mercy) (Quran CX, 1-3).

Was-salamu `alaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh.

 

 

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